Syrian cotton wool (Asclepias Syriaca) is a wild crop, unpretentious to growing conditions. The flower has a pleasant persistent aroma that is felt at a distance, due to which it is actively used in perfumery. The smell is loved by bees and butterflies. Most often, this plant can be found in the forest, on the roadside, in the fields and around water bodies.
Syrian cottonwood is a herbaceous plant with long and wide oblong leaves growing oppositely. In the center of the dense sheet plate lies a clearly marked red vein. In case of any damage, the leaves secrete a thick juice, with which, according to popular belief, female swallows wash their chicks' eyes in order to speed up their opening. The Syrian flower received two more names: Milky Grass and Swallow Grass.
The flowering culture lasts from July to August. Nondescript small flowers in the form of stars, gray-lilac, pink and crimson shades, connected in umbrella inflorescences.
Syrian cotton wool is a long-liver capable of growing for 30 years
The pleasant aroma of flowers, reminiscent of chocolate, attracts butterflies and bees. Beekeepers value Syrian cotton wool as an excellent honey plant, therefore they specially breed it. Honey productivity is estimated very high - about 600 kg per 1 ha of fields. The collected honey is characterized by a delicate chocolate taste, has a light yellow hue, and slowly crystallizes.
In place of the drying inflorescence, a rather large (about 12 cm in length) fruit is born, which looks like an oblong seed capsule with corrugated edges. Having reached maturity, it cracks on the sides and scatters seeds in the wind, covered with white fluff, which looks like cotton wool, which is why its name came about - cotton wool.
Syrian wadder seeds are carried by the wind over long distances, ripen quickly
In temperate continental climates, they germinate only in prolonged dry and warm autumn.
Syrian cottonwood is unpretentious, winter-hardy, grows rapidly, its height fluctuates within 1-2 m. Once on agricultural land, it can bring significant troubles.
Originally Syrian cotton wool from North America. It grows everywhere, in many countries it is considered a weed with which they are actively fighting. It is considered a weed grass in Germany, France, England, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Italy, Bulgaria, America, Poland, the Baltic states.
Growing from seeds
In the middle climatic zone, cultivation from seeds is rarely practiced, since in this case flowering will begin only at 3-4 years of age.
Seeds are sown in planting containers in March, using soil for indoor plants. The bottom of the container is covered with a layer of drainage, onto which the earth is poured. Having made grooves with a depth of 10-12 mm, planting material is sown in them and lightly sprinkled with soil. Then the earth is moistened and the container is covered with a film. The crops are aired daily, the soil is sprayed with warm water 2 times a week.
After 14 days, when shoots appear, the seedlings are moved to a bright and warm room with a temperature of about +18 ° C.
Fortified seedlings dive into individual pots. To stimulate growth, the tops of the seedlings are pinched and moved into the shade until they are determined to a permanent place.
Landing in open ground
You can sow seeds directly into open ground. In late March - early April, the ground heated after the snow melts is dug up, thoroughly loosened, and weeds are removed. Then designate the grooves for sowing (no more than 30 mm deep), moisten them with warm water, sow the seeds of Syrian cottonweed and sprinkle with earth. In stable warm weather, the first shoots will appear in 2-3 weeks.
Site selection and preparation
Syrian cottonwood grows easily and is able to fill the entire area, displacing other plants, so it is important to choose the right place for it.
It is undesirable to plant Syrian cotton wool near flower beds, garden, vegetable and berry crops. The best choice would be a site on a hill, away from plantings and household blocks, illuminated and protected from groundwater.
Any soil is suitable for a flower, but it is best to use loam. In order not to constrain the plant, at least 2 m is left between the seedlings. Thanks to the spraying of seeds, the flower grows and the plantings will become denser. Syrian cotton wool is an interesting option for decorating unsightly fragments of a site.
Young shoots of Syrian cotton wool are capable of germinating even 1 m from the mother bush, therefore it should be planted away from flower beds and a vegetable garden
Seedlings grown from seeds are planted in the ground in early June. A small drainage layer is placed in the prepared hole, fertilized with mineral compounds and humus. They mix everything with the ground, then transfer the seedling from the planting container into the hole. For some time, the young Syrian cotton wool needs to be watered well. Once it has taken root, regular hydration is not required.
Advice! To prevent the active growth of the flower, you can plant it directly in the pot.
The tendency of Syrian vatnik to invasion (aggressive invasion) forced the competent authorities to put it on black lists and prohibit the circulation of seeds and rooted parts of the flower. The control of the plant in the fields is quite long and often unsuccessful due to its resistance to herbicides. It sometimes takes from 3 to 5 years to completely destroy the fleece. Its vitality is provided by the milky juice contained in the leaves, and a powerful rhizome with many dormant buds, capable of restoring the plant after the death of the ground part.
Syrian cotton wool is absolutely unpretentious. He has enough water from natural rains. In the dry season, it is watered once a week. Syrian cottonwood needs watering after planting in the ground.
Top dressing for the season is applied 3 times:
- Every spring they are fed with mineral fertilizers.
- Before budding, potassium sulfate and urea are used.
- After flowering, fertilize with nitrophos.
Attention! Loosening and weeding the soil is necessary only for young seedlings.
Diseases and pests
The main pest is considered to be a spider mite. To prevent its appearance, it is recommended to periodically spray the plants with onion peels. The infusion is prepared at the rate of 5 liters of water per 100 g of husk. It is kept for 5 days, filtered and used as directed. Insecticides are used only in difficult cases. Among them, the drug Neoron is effective, eliminating the tick after 2 treatments.
Whitefly rarely affects the plant. Feeding on the milky sap of Syrian cottonweed, the insect causes the stems and leaves to dry out. Fufanon, Aktellik and Rovikurt will help to eliminate it.
Mold appears with improper flower care. The solution to the problem lies in reducing air humidity. For seedlings, it is enough to move the container to a dry room, for plants in open ground, watering should be stopped.
Yellowing and falling leaves are associated with insufficient moisture levels. To solve the problem, the plant is sprayed with water.
The culture does not like pruning, therefore, only spring molding is carried out. For sanitary purposes, the broken and frozen parts of the flower are removed. In order to control the growth of Syrian cottonweed, inflorescences are regularly removed during the flowering period, preventing self-spraying of seeds.
Important! Trimming Syrian cotton wool should be done with gloves (especially for allergy sufferers), since its juice is poisonous and can cause skin irritation or swelling.
Preparing for winter
Syrian vatochnik is a winter-hardy plant, it tolerates frosts easily, it is enough to shorten the shoots to 10 cm, mulch and cover the trunk circle with leaves
Without shelter, it can withstand frosts down to -13 ° C.
Syrian cotton wool is propagated by seeds, cuttings and rhizomes.
Seed propagation is rarely resorted to, since flowering will have to wait for several years. The collected seeds are dried in a dark place and put in a cloth or paper bag. Seedlings are grown from them or sown directly into open ground. The seeds can be used for two years.
Quilting of cotton wool is carried out in June. Planting material 15 cm long is stuck into moistened soil. The cuttings will take root after the plant sap has completely dried. This usually happens within two weeks.
Attention! It is necessary to plant cuttings of cotton wool in the ground immediately after cutting. This promotes better rooting.
Reproduction by division is carried out in spring or autumn (after flowering). The root is divided with a shovel, planted in planting holes, sprinkled with earth and watered. When propagated by rhizome, Syrian wadder blooms the next year.
Photo in landscape design
Landscape design with cotton wool presents minor difficulties due to the height of the plants and their ability to thrive. Most often, they are decorated with recreation areas, lawns and flower beds.
Experienced designers can use Syrian cotton wool to add an interesting accent to a garden, front garden and building façade.
The fleece is used to decorate the landscape together with other tall plants.
The flower is favorably combined with aster, bell, yarrow, echinacea, veronica, lavender, sage. Shrubs and trees are a good option for landscape composition.
With the help of single plantings of cotton wool, it is easy to give the garden a bright accent.
In a group planting, Syrian cottonwood does an excellent job with filling voids, decorating unsightly fragments of a plot or buildings, and also shading other seedlings in the composition.
The composition with a dense bush of cotton wool looks original
In order for the plant to retain its original appearance for a long time, it is recommended to regularly remove the growing shoots of the cottonwood.
Single plantings of cotton wool are also good in rockeries, where the freedom of the plant is initially limited by nature.
The natural barrier around the Syrian wadder emphasizes its beauty and originality
The fragrant flowers of Syrian cottonweed are a bait for insects. The plant can be planted by the driveway or under the facade of a building. The cottonwood plant, planted along the fence at the summer cottage, will eventually turn into a hedge and attract pollinating insects to the garden, which is very important if vegetables, berries or fruits grow on the site.
Cotton wool looks beautiful in the wilderness
Application in traditional medicine
Syrian cotton wool has found application in medicine. The plant is characterized by antibacterial, wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to strengthen the immune system, relieve the symptoms of heart disease.
Plant sap is used as a laxative. Healing decoctions are cooked from the leaves, which heal wounds, warts, lichens and other skin diseases. The seeds are used as lotions, compresses and medicinal baths.
Attention! People suffering from bradycardia and hypotension are prohibited from taking funds with Syrian cotton.
Syrian cottonwood is an interesting choice for a flower garden. It also has the other side of the coin, being an aggressive weed. Having made the decision to plant it on your site, you need to be prepared for the regular uprooting of the appearing processes.
Vadim Komarov. 45 years. Vladimir
I have been growing Syrian cotton wool for 5 years. During the period of its flowering, many insects appear in the garden: bees, bumblebees, butterflies. My grandson watched this marvelous sight with pleasure throughout July. Group flower gardens look especially gorgeous.
Lydia Abramova. 53 years old. Alexandrov
I planted the cottonweed in a semicircle along the flower bed, using it as a frame for the flower garden, and was very disappointed. The flower bed is broken. The cotton wool filled not only the place for flowers, but also climbed further. Grew up near vegetable beds. Tired of ripping out its scions and the chemicals don't help at all.