Spiky Inflorescences of Fire Safflower
The appearance of safflower is often compared with thistles or artichokes, although this summer is by no means so prickly. Just his fiery, lush inflorescences remind of the large heads of the most unfriendly garden family. Safflower primarily became famous as an industrially important plant grown around the globe for oil and natural dyes. But its decorative properties did not immediately attract attention. Safflower is not similar to most garden plants, unpretentious and hardy. And its large size favorably distinguishes the plant even among the brightest garden annuals.
Safflower - a fiery favorite from among medicinal cultures
Safflower today is increasingly seen under his legal name - Cartamus (carthamus) His plant received for the content of the unique dyeing pigment of cartamine. Natural and bright dye, which is bright yellow in water mixtures and bright red in alcohol mixtures, also determines the fiery color of safflower inflorescences. It is this pigment that colors the robes of Buddhist monks. But not only flowering will attract attention in this plant.
As a cultivated plant, only one type of safflower is grown - dye cartamus (carthamus tinctorius), although in the wild there are more than a dozen varieties of this culture.
Safflowers on high-quality garden soil can reach a meter height. But the diameter of the bushes of this summer is much more modest: only about 30-35 cm. A branched stem with a whitish sheen and lanceolate, glossy, with a jagged edge dense leaves sitting on the branches cause associations with various garden crops.
Outwardly, the plant is really remotely similar to thistles or artichokes, but its greenery is much brighter and more magnificent. And the presence of sharp thorns that protect the plant and give it boldness, does not cancel the attractiveness of greenery. Moreover, safflower, which is distributed as a garden ornamental plant, and especially those intended for cutting varieties, is much less prickly than their wild relatives. Inflorescences-safflower balls in diameter reach 3-4 cm. Narrow, filiform "petals" give them a resemblance to pompons, and the shape of a round ball seems especially catchy against the background of prickly greens.
The duration of safflower bloom can not compete with the classic flyers, but it covers almost the entire summer. The first safflower inflorescences bloom in June; flowering peaks in July-August. Safflower seems to pass the fire baton to the crowns of trees and shrubs, disappearing from the garden scene with the beginning of the autumn paint marathon.
The safflower color palette includes all shades of fiery colors - the most striking variations of yellow, orange and red. This is one of the brightest plants for fiery compositions, the illusion with flaming flowers, which is only emphasized by thin, threadlike petals.
In addition to the basic form, you can find on sale elite varieties of safflower dyeing, which, thanks to selection, have received more magnificent, attractive and almost non-foliage foliage. The best varieties of plants can safely be reckoned:
- ‘White Grenade’, which was named not for white color at all: this variety has large yellow inflorescences decorated with dazzling bright lemon stripes, and the greens are so lush that they overshadow perennials;
- ‘Orange Grenade’ - a variety with a height of about 80 cm, offering to admire all shades of orange from light fruit shades to almost red scarlet tones.
The use of safflower in decorative gardening
In the western landscape design tradition, safflower is one of the most beloved flyers. And florists have long appreciated this unusual plant, whose talents go far beyond the framework of oilseed and dyeing culture. Safflower and its colorful inflorescences are grown for dried and living bouquets, they are decorated with "ceremonial" compositions and introduced into the gardens as original accents.
Safflower is used:
- large groups for decorating lawns or clearings from groundcover;
- in classic discounts;
- in the original borders;
- in the role of fiery accents on flower beds and in mixborders;
- to fill voids where larger flyers are needed;
- for decorating gardens and beds;
- as a cut plant, including for dry bouquets;
- in the role of a medicinal and edible plant.
Best partners for safflower: navyanik, cornflowers, oregano, calendula, snapdragon, verbena, brilliant sage
Conditions required by safflower
Safflowers are surprisingly unpretentious both on an industrial scale and in horticultural culture. This is a grateful plant, which is easy to find a suitable place. The main thing is not to forget about the sunliness of the plant. Safflower will be able to please you with flowering only in a well-lit place, can not stand shading, including the neighborhood with large shrubs or wood accents on flower beds. Pay attention to the fact that only warm areas are suitable for safflower, on which cold drafts will not annoy a sufficiently tall flyer.
What you can hardly think about is whether the soil in your garden is suitable for this yearbook. After all, safflowers are surprisingly undemanding to the ground. The only thing to be sure for sure is that there is no risk of stagnation of water and too high occurrence of groundwater. And on any soil other than moist and swampy, safflower will grow and bloom for your joy. The plant is especially actively developing on sandstone and loam, in drained and loose soil pleasing with very massive and prolonged flowering. However, even moist soil can be prepared for safflower by laying powerful drainage along the perimeter of the bed with the plant.
Caring for kartamus will not be a burden for any gardener. After all, you can grow this plant and enjoy its flowering without much effort, taking care of only a few procedures per season.
The ease of care for safflower is largely due to the fact that this plant does not need watering. This is a drought-tolerant, hardy plant that is not afraid even of prolonged periods without precipitation. In fact, by this ability only the best of dried flowers can compare with safflower.
Yes, and feeding this flyer is far from always necessary. If you planted safflowers on fertile soil (and even more so if soil improvement was carried out before planting), you can forget about fertilizing. But if the soil is poor or depleted, then it is better to carry out several fertilizing with organic or full mineral mixtures per season. Safflower responds to fertilizer application with lush greens and active, abundant flowering. It is better to fertilize during the period of an active company, before flowering or at the very beginning.
Safflower cut for bouquets
If you want to decorate living bouquets with safflower inflorescences, then you need to cut the fire heads at the moment when the first flowers are opened, at the very beginning of the blossoming of the inflorescence. For dry bouquets, safflower is cut later, when the inflorescences are already fully opened.
In order for safflower to retain its beauty, drying should be carried out as quickly as possible, which can be problematic due to the large size of the inflorescences themselves. The shoots are dried heads down, hanging one at a time or in mini-bundles, so as to prevent the spread of mold. To dry safflower, it is necessary to create conditions of complete dryness and intensive ventilation.
Pest and Safflower Disease Control
Garden safflowers most often suffer from specific pests typical for this plant - safflower flies and safflower scoops. In the vicinity of infected perennials, safflowers can also suffer from rust or leaf spotting. It is better to destroy the affected specimens, if infected with pests, ensure crop rotation next year, remove the topsoil in the fall, after the safflowers have already been removed from the compositions.
Reproduction of safflower
Cartamus, like other summers, is propagated only by seeds. Sowing for this plant is carried out not at seedlings, but immediately at the place of cultivation. This is due to the fact that safflower does not tolerate transplants. You can try to achieve success by the seedling method if you sow directly in peat pots and transfer the plant to the garden with them. But such a method is risky, because safflower when transported to other conditions, growth may still be disturbed.
Sowing safflower seeds is best done in April-May. They are not afraid of night-time cooling (young shoots withstand frost up to -6 degrees), but the soil should warm up sufficiently. Before sowing, it is advisable to add compost or other organic matter to the soil, to carry out 2-3 digging. Sowing is carried out deeply, into grooves up to 3-5 cm. For germination of safflower, it is necessary to ensure light soil moisture. Therefore, with prolonged spring drought, it is better to carry out light watering. After the emergence of strong seedlings, it is better to thin out immediately, leaving a distance of 15 cm between the plants. Since safflower emerges together, it is better to immediately sprinkle the seeds less often.