Actaea - How to care for and cultivate your Actaea


HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS

ACTAEA


Actaea racemosa

The Actaea they are delightful plants widely used for borders or as herbaceous shade plants.

BOTANICAL CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom

:

Plantae

Clado

: Angiosperms

Clado

: Eudicotyledons

Order

:

Ranunculales

Family

:

Ranunculaceae

Kind

:

Actaea

Species

: see the paragraph on "Main species"

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

The genreActaea of the family of Ranunculaceae includes perennials native to the wooded areas of the northern hemisphere. The clearings, the wooded edges, the humid shaded areas, the deciduous and coniferous forests, the depressions of the land, the banks of the streams and the marshy areas are their natural habitat.

They are rustic perennial plants that can reach up to 1 m in height. They are provided with rhizome, with toothed and compound leaves and white flowers, with small and feathery petals gathered in racemiterminal now rounded or elongated similar to spikes. They have particularly showy stamens that protrude from the petals. The fruits are variously colored berries (poisonous, if ingested), mostly red and white, which ripen at the end of summer-autumn.

During the winter season the plant loses all the aerial part and only the rhizomes (underground stems) live from which, every year, the roots and the aerial part are born.

Given its white, frothy flowers and colorful berries, it is very decorative when grown with a dark background.

MAIN SPECIES

There are several species in the genus Actaea among which we remember:

ACTAEA ALBA (synonym A. PACHYPODA)

L'Actaea alba (or Actaeapachypoda) is a bushy perennial species with a stem up to 1 m long and tending to red, leaves up to 60 cm long with 3-12 oval leaflets.It blooms from the end of spring-early summer, producing white flowers gathered in racemic inflorescences that will form white round wands with a black dot.

ACTAEA ERYTHROCARPA (synonym A. SPICATA var. RUBRA)

The species Actaea erythrocarpa (synonymous Actaea spicatavar. rubra) is a bushy perennial plant with arched and red colored stems. It is characterized by pinnate leaves 40 cm long. It blooms in late spring-early summer, producing white flowers gathered in terminal racemes. Fruits are reddish-brown berries.

ACTAEA SPICATA (A. NIGRA)

L'Actaea spicata (synonymous Actaeanigra) is a perennial species with a bushy habit with leaves composed of 9-15 leaflets, up to 60 cm long. Flowering begins towards the end of summer-early spring with white flowers arranged in racemes and followed by black berries.

It is commonly known by the name of goat beard.

ACTAEARACEMOSA (RACEMOSA CIMICIFUGA)

L'Actaea racemosa (synonymous Black Cohosh) it is a perennial herbaceous species with a bushy habit, up to 3 m tall, with trilobate leaves of an intense green color and flowers united in raceme inflorescences of elongated shape very similar to spikes. It blooms from June to August.

The namebed bugcomes from the Latincimex "Bedbug" efŭgus "Which infuses", because the smell of the plant keeps insects away.

For its medicinal properties, see the "Curiosities" section.

CULTURAL TECHNIQUE

L'Actaea a rustic and fairly simple cultivation plant, suitable for growing outdoors in gardens, as it is very decorative thanks to its clusters with colorful fruits.

It requires a cultivation in partial shade (the A. spicata in full shade) therefore it is advisable that it is cultivated in the shade of the trees. It can also be grown in the sun but in areas exposed to the north or west while maintaining good soil moisture.

It is resistant to low temperatures while it is not tolerant towards the wind which is not particularly welcome.

WATERING

Throughout the spring-summer period, the soil must always remain moderately moist.

TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT

It requires fertile soils with a slightly acid reaction, possibly enriched with leaf soil and very well drained because it does not tolerate water stagnation.

FERTILIZATION

Starting from spring and throughout the summer, administer a liquid fertilizer in half doses with the watering water once a month.

It is advisable to use a fertilizer that in addition to having macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) also has microelements such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Molybdenum (Mo), Magnesium (Mg), all important for the plant. Therefore, do not trust the beautiful packaging or the famous name of the fertilizer: always read the label.

PRUNING

Although they are perennial plants, since they lose the aerial part during the winter period, they cannot be pruned. Only the parts that dry out or get damaged during the summer are eliminated, to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

FLOWERING

The flowering period for the different species is usually between the end of spring and early summer.

MULTIPLICATION

L'Actaea it multiplies by seed or by division of the plant (much easier to achieve thanks to the presence of the hizomes).

PLANT DIVISION

In spring the plant is extracted from the ground and its division is carried out. Gently divide the irizomes into several portions, each with at least 2-3 leaves using a clean, disinfected and sharp knife (in order to avoid fraying of the tissues). After that each single portion is planted individually using the same soil for the adult plants.

MULTIPLICATION BY SEED

Plants can also multiply by seed in autumn, sowing in good seed soil. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, they should be planted outdoors in April. They can also be sown directly at home in April, subsequently thinning out the seedlings at the indicated distance.

The planting density, considering the subsequent development of the plants, must be about 60x60 (60 cm along the row and 60 cm between the rows).

The seedlings born from seed grow much slower than those born by dividing the plant and begin to flower only from the second year and only from the third year the plant can be divided.

This practice is much more laborious than the division and more demanding also considering that the seeds retain their germinability only for a few months.

PARASITES AND DISEASES

They are not plants subject to parasitic attacks. Occasionally rust can affect them.

The leaf margins dry out

This symptomatology appears when the soil is not sufficiently moist.

Circular spots of reddish color

If you notice this symptomatology it is very likely that you are in the presence of the so-called rust caused by different fungi. If neglected, the spots gradually merge until the whole leaf dries up.If you carefully observe, in correspondence with the spots, on the upper page of the leaf, you can observe small sphericidal bodies a few millimeters tenaciously inserted into the tissues that are not are that the propagation organs of the fungus.

Remedies: it is good to immediately eliminate the affected leaves and intervene with copper-based chemicals following the instructions given in the pesticide package.

CURIOSITY'

Berries are very toxic when ingested.

The name Actaeae comes from the Greek aktaia "Elderberry" for its resemblance to the elderberry plant.

L'Actaeae racemosa it is an important medicinal plant. Already the American Indians used the rhizome of the plant for the preparation of various remedies for rheumatism, snake bites, menstrual pains, to promote childbirth, etc. Today it is used as a phytotherapy remedy for the treatment of menopause disorders: flushing, headache, sweating, ringing in the ears, palpitations, nervousness, irritability, sleep problems and depression. In addition, it is a valuable aid in the treatment of back pain, menstrual disorders and osteoarthritis.


Video: Growing Actaea


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