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Xerantemum: the immortal and eternal flower

Photo by József Kincse from Pixabay

 

Enriching your garden with little-known plants has a double aspect: renovating anonymous corners and surprising yourself and your guests. Particularly suitable for gardening and for the creation of flowering meadows is the species Xeranthemum annuum, a little-known but particularly beautiful plant belonging to the Asteraceae family and native to Eastern Europe. Indeed, this variety of plant has also been defined as a rare and ancient variety, so its cultivation is essential for the conservation of this traditional variety.

 

Xeranthemum annuum is an annual herbaceous plant. The extremely long-lasting flowers are quite small, all shades of pink and white and resemble daisies. The stems can reach 60-90 cm in height. Xeranthemum annuum requires a pre-cultivation inside the house: the seeds must be placed in small pots at a temperature of about 20 ° C three weeks before the last spring frost.

 

Their germination takes place in two weeks. The small seedlings produced from the seeds can then be transferred outdoors (obviously if the risk of frost has passed) and positioned about 20 cm from each other. This way they bloom in summer, from June to August. It is also possible to avoid the passage of preculture indoors and sow directly outside in the months of March, April and May, but in this case the flowering takes place from late August to early autumn. The optimal exposure for Xeranthemum annuum plants is in full sun; the ideal soil must be dry, fresh and porous, while watering is reduced.

 

There is no evidence of particular diseases affecting this plant. However, it is affected by too wet ground and water stagnation. In the language of flowers, the meaning of Xeranthemum annuum is immortal and could easily represent constant friendship. In fact, if used in small bouquets of flowers, tradition has it that its meaning is "immortal and eternal". The flowers of this plant are also particularly beautiful when they are dried so they are used for flower arrangements or other handicrafts.

 

To proceed with drying, it is necessary to cut the stems with the flowers that are still open or recently opened (depending on personal taste) and hang them upside down in a protected, shaded and airy place. The flowers of Xeranthemum, together with other plants such as myrtle, narcissus, agave, juniper, lavender, thyme, sage and oregano, are ideal for xeriscaping in a Mediterranean version. What is xeriscaping? It is an innovative and eco-sustainable trend, originating in the arid areas of the western United States, which involves the design and construction of gardens or entire landscapes that do not need to be particularly irrigated.

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