A lovely and unpretentious flower of Buttercup family, a modest character of shady parks and alpine gardens, a component of flower compositions in the garden – aquilegia is widespread almost throughout the Northern Hemisphere, both in wild and in culture. The diverse coloring of flowers and endurance of this perennial plant are equally appreciated by novice gardeners and masters of landscape design.
Aquilegia, or vodophor, has many names: eagle, dove, bell, cobbler, and even the flower of the elves. Data on the species diversity of this plant is quite contradictory: some sources count 60-70 species, others indicate a figure of 101. The geographical influence on the color and shape of aquilegia flowers is also remarkable: while European and Asian species are characterized by white, blue, blue or pink shades of flowers, American ones have a brighter range of golden, orange and red tones and a longer spur.
Many species of aquilegia, with rare exceptions, perfectly acclimatize in Russia from the steppes to the northern regions of the taiga, not requiring insulation for the winter. In fact, the only thing the plants need is a relatively moist content and periodic weeding.
Despite its natural unpretentiousness, the waterlily prefers the penumbra to bright light. Of course, it will grow and please you with its flowering and in the open area, but the plant will develop more slowly in such a case. Much better feel aquilegia in the garden under the shade of other plants and near water bodies.
Soil for aquilegia is desirable to provide light and loose, but fertile. Some gardeners recommend during the summer to fertilize the flower with an infusion of cowpea, but our family experience shows that it is enough once a year – in spring or autumn – to use the fertilizer “Kemira”.
The very name watershed implies the plant’s craving for wet content, so it is advisable to water regularly. However, wet content does not mean swamping, so there must still be a measure. This is especially important during the germination of seeds, when the risk of rot is quite high.
Among diseases and pests, the most common disease of aquilegia is powdery mildew: first, the leaves and petioles are covered with a white coating, and then they darken and die. Also in the ranks of enemies of this flower are rust fungi, gray rot, nematodes, aphids, spider mites and other, less common, diseases and parasites.
There are three methods of propagation applicable to the watershed: seed, cuttings, and bush division. I should say at once that many sources indicate that the plant tolerates transplanting poorly, so dividing the bush is probably not the best way. I have not resorted to it and am not particularly drawn to experiment.
Propagation by seed
Aquilegia seeds can be sown twice a year – in the fall, immediately after harvesting, or in the spring. In my opinion, the autumn sowing is the most convenient, because during the winter natural stratification will also pass, and by spring the sprouts will appear more amicably than in artificial imitation of the process in the refrigerator.
If you are not a fan of keeping things in the refrigerator that are not related to food, then spring sowing will need to be combined with pre-freezing in the snow, mixing the seeds with the soil. Within 20-30 days, the first sprouts should appear.
It is possible to grow aquilegia seedlings at home as well. The optimum temperature for germination is 16 to 18°C.
The seeds themselves are small, elongated and glossy and poisonous. The germination is maintained for one year. Peculiarities of aquilegia variety are guaranteed to be transmitted by seed propagation only if the plant grew in isolation from other species and could not cross-pollinate with them.
Propagation by cuttings
Rare varieties of aquilegia prefer to propagate by cuttings in early spring, selecting shoots with leaves in the embryonic state. When breaking off the cuttings, a small part of the mother plant should also be taken. For better rooting, cuttings are treated with the stimulant “Epin”, “Zircon” or “Kornevin”.
Rooting of aquilegia is carried out in a greenhouse with regular, but careful, moistening of the soil. As soon as roots appear – and this process takes 30 to 40 days – the greenhouse can be removed. The best time for planting new plants is August: in a few months the waterspout has time to get used to the new conditions and prepare for the first wintering.
The first flowering of aquilegia usually occurs in the 2nd year. In the 4th-5th year of life, the roots of the plant begin to rise above the surface of the soil, and they need to be covered with soil. Usually at this age mark, gardeners prefer to remove the plant and replace it with a new one, because the decorative effect begins to be lost.
Aquilegia in the garden
Aquiflora has been planted in gardens for several centuries. From the decorative point of view the plant is appreciated for its flowers of interesting form and unobtrusive size as well as for its openwork foliage. You can’t think of a better accompaniment for rockweed and gentian in an alpinarium!
Aquilegia often complements irises, ornamental grasses, bellflowers, lupines, hostas and ferns. Nowadays, the terry-clad vines, which are not inferior to other types of dahlia in beauty and splendor, are also widely popular. The wide variety of species of this flower allows you to vary the height of the plants around it, combining with different colors and shapes and experimenting with different styles of landscape design.