Impressive giant lofant, or agastache
Unless lupine can compete with the ability to paint gardens with cheerful curtains with brightly colored vertical inflorescences with lofant. But if the latter is a landscape, watercolor plant, then lofant is a real star of avant-garde design. In whatever quality and quantity, the lofant would not be introduced into the composition, it will change the appearance of the garden forever. After all, this plant has so many advantages. And not the least of them - unpretentiousness. A charming and bright lofant is worth any difficulties that may arise when preparing a plant for winter. Yes, and you can always grow this culture as a flyer.
Fluffy verticals of the sultans of the fragrant lofant
Lofants are riveted today. The mass glorification of the plant as a universal and unique medicinal ingredient led to the fact that the lofant was included in the lists of the most rated garden plants. And to a considerable confusion with the classification and types: simple names suddenly began to be replaced with more suitable miraculous "grass" - "Tibetan", creating a real mess.
Like any medicinal plant, lofant must be used wisely and under the guidance of a doctor. Unlike culinary talents, for all its longevity, lofant is a wonderful spicy-aromatic culture with a bright anise aroma. And its beauty is beyond doubt: it is one of the most versatile and promising plants from the class of herbaceous perennials. And even the relatively low frost resistance of the lofant is a myth. After all, the plant is not afraid of frost, it simply does not like getting wet in combination with a winter cold and needs specific, proper preparation for winter in the middle lane.
Lofantswhose botanical names Polygon, or Agastache (Agastache) never got accustomed with us completely - the plants are large and massive. Reaching a maximum height of 1.5 meters, they form a stunning beauty and splendor of the curtain. The stalks are densely covered with fragrant and tasty leaves, which add a spicy anise note in salads. Pointed at the tips, linear-lanceolate, often swept, they form a stunningly green mass that seems almost opaque. Peduncles are crowned with a very bright inflorescence in the form of a dense brush of narrow tubular flowers. Lofant sultans reach 10 or more centimeters in length and seem fluffy. And even if they are not so large, but they are perfectly straight: the bush seems to be crowned with lace “dashes” and brings verticals to the design much more expressive than other plants with an elongated form of inflorescences.
When grown as an annual, agastakha blooms relentlessly, from May to the advent of frost. When grown as a perennial, lofants will delight only during the summer, because in order to prepare for winter, it will be necessary to cut off early. But during this time you will have time to enjoy the beauty of an amazing plant. The color scheme of the lofant includes cream, white, purple, pink, purple, orange colors.
The aroma of agastakha deserves a separate tumble. Pleasant, sweetish, it not only attracts bees and butterflies, making lofant one of the best honey plants. The smell of plants with anise notes is actively used in cooking. And it is inherent not only to the most popular anise lofant, but also to other species in which pepper, candy and even mint are attached to the anise aroma
Types and varieties of lofant
The most popular among not so many types of lofant deservedly deserved one species - agastache anise. True, his botanical name is completely different - Polygon, or agastache wrinkled (agastache rugosa) But it is not as common among gardeners as the popular "nickname" under which healers spread this lofant - Tibetan lofant and the popular Mexican mint, Korean mint. All these names are inherent in one plant - agastakha rugose.
This is a full-fledged grassy perennial that, with proper preparation for wintering, can successfully winter in the middle lane (despite the fact that most selectors recommend growing it as an annual in regions with severe winters). The leaves of this agastache smell like anise, all the other aboveground parts smell like licorice. This is a beautiful, landscape plant, the effectiveness of which is inferior to other species, but its wrinkled leaves are painted in the brightest and very fresh green, and short and as if fluffy purple inflorescences seem unusual and introduce audacity into any flower garden. Much more decorative than the base plant, the varieties and forms of the lofant differ:
- “Honey Bee” cultivar, which partly lost its winter hardiness to the detriment of plentiful flowering and is grown in the middle lane as an annual, but it blooms very lushly from May until the frosts come;
- “Honey Bee Blue” variety with more compact bushes up to 70 cm in height and bluish inflorescence brushes, in which the leaves smell like anise and mint;
- purplish blue grade "Blue Spike".
Deserves much more popularity and Mexican polygon, or Lofant mexican (Agastache mexicana), which is easily propagated by seeds and even prone to self-sowing. The bushes of this lofant densely branch, grow over the summer and form lush curtains even in regions with severe winters. The height of the shoots ranges from 70 cm to 1 m, densely bushy sods quickly develop large areas. The foliage is tender, fresh, with a slight emerald color, heart-shaped and with a very beautiful serrated edge. Inflorescences in dense narrow brushes are painted in pink and purple tones, contrast excellently with foliage and seem like fluffy strokes against a background of lush greenery. The basic species is rare, where on sale you can often find the variety "Carlile Carmine" with almost carmine color and long flowering.
Lofant Pallida (agastache pallida), better known as lofant barbers (agastache barberi) and in landscape design it is represented only by the cultivar “Firebird”, the origin of which is largely confused. This plant stands out for its huge and lacy inflorescences of a bright orange color, which, with all their catchiness, seem surprisingly touching and modest. Grayish muffled small foliage, lush clumps of shoots about 60 cm high and flowering from mid-summer to October seem to soften the insolence of inflorescences rarer than other lofants and give the whole plant a surprisingly harmonious look.
Polygon mountain, or Lofant mountain (agastache rupestris) are grown mainly as an airman, but he is able to winter in the middle lane, provided that the drainage is laid during planting and in a dry shelter. It is more modest in height, from 45 to 90 cm, but also more dense. Linear leaves with a grayish color look very attractive, and their aroma is able to overshadow even the wrinkled lofant. It is best to choose varieties that bloom in the year of sowing for planting in regions with harsh winters:
- pink and tall Desert Sunrise;
- variegated orange-purple variety of half-meter height “Sunset” with surprisingly beautiful color transitions in inflorescences;
- smelling mint variety "Blazing Sunset" with a charming mint flavor.
In decorative gardening, lofants are used:
- for decorating mixborders and textile discounts;
- to create colorful and exotic landscape plantings, in large groups;
- in gardens in the style of prairies, modern, avant-garde and other modern styles;
- in the role of a modern boundary accent;
- for decorating small empty areas;
- for making volume and texture on large flower beds;
- in the design of flower beds near recreation areas and terraces;
- in fragrant gardens and decorative gardens;
- as a plant that can bring revival to large lawns or boring corners of the garden;
- in the role of a structuring landscape plant;
- as a large container plant, filling with aromas terraces and balconies, recreation areas and gazebos;
- as a honey plant;
- as a spicy aromatic plant for flavoring dishes, drinks;
- as a cut plant;
- as a medicinal raw material.
Best partners for Lofant: lupins, astilbe, rudbeckia, veronica, catnip, mint
Conditions Required by Lofants
For the lofant to become the star of your collection of herbaceous perennials, it will not need so much - good lighting and high-quality soil.
Lofants bloom beautifully and grow normally only in sunny areas. Any insufficient lighting affects the attractiveness of greenery and the size of inflorescences, as well as the concentration of essential oils in various parts of the plant. Therefore, for this perennial it is better to choose the most open and brightly lit areas. Lofant loves warm and hot locations.
The soil for the lofant does not have to be fertile, but good drainage cannot be forgotten. Lofant can only grow on water and breathable, loose soil. The more fertile it is, the better, but it will bloom on the most depleted soil, albeit less spectacularly.
Young seedlings of lofant are planted at a distance of 20-25 cm from each other. During the procedure, it is advisable not to damage the earthen lump, to transplant as less traumatically as possible. The soil needs to be improved before planting, adding organic matter and after deep digging.
Lofant will need watering for the most spectacular flowering. This plant is hardy, but not too drought tolerant. And during prolonged periods without precipitation it will need to be watered. But the purpose of irrigation is to compensate for the weather, and not to maintain high soil moisture. Even if you have at this time, systematically, abundantly water the agastakha: you should not put up this perennial with moisture stagnation.
Lofants are fed only when they are grown as an ornamental plant. If plants are planning to harvest, to collect greens for food, as a seasoning, for medicinal raw materials, then agastakh cannot be fertilized. For decorative lofants, top dressing is applied 2-3 times, starting in June and no later than in August, with an interval of 3-4 weeks between dressings. For this plant, it is better to use full mineral fertilizers. As additional fertilizers in autumn, it is better to mulch the bushes with organic matter - compost or humus. They are also brought in when landing.
The lofant care program must include weeds. Unlike the same lupine, agastakha with weeds alone can not cope. And at least 2-3 dressings per season for him is better to plan. As well as loosening the soil: the procedure should be carried out immediately after heavy rain and each irrigation. Mulching the soil will easily save you from both not too pleasant duties. Lofant prefers plant materials.
Preparing for winter is a critical component of success in growing lofant in the middle lane. In order for the plant to successfully winter, its buds must wake up. And for this you need to cut off the aerial parts of the plant very early, back in mid-September (and no later). Only 10 cm high stumps are left from the shoots. Before the first frost arrives, the plant must be covered with the dry method: the soil should be mulched, and then the plant should be covered with foliage and spruce branches or at least one of the materials. The success of wintering directly depends on whether the lofant gets wet or not. And dryness is paramount. After all, frosts themselves are not afraid of this plant.
Pest and Disease Control
Problems in growing lofant arise only with improper care or waterlogging of the soil. This plant, in violation of the recommended distance when planting, in the wrong, moist soil, may be affected by powdery mildew. Otherwise, this perennial is very persistent.
Lofant is one of the most variable garden perennials in terms of reproduction. A new generation of plants can be obtained:
- Dividing the bushes. You can make the procedure in spring and early autumn. The main secret is to divide powerful bushes into large parts, in each of which at least 5 regeneration buds and a very large fragment of the rhizome will remain. Rooting delenok in a new place will require systemic irrigation, without which the plant will not be able to adapt normally.
- Rooting stem cuttings (on the principle of garden shrubs).
- Growing seedlings. If you sow lofant seeds for seedlings in large containers with high-quality substrate in the first ten days of April and provide warm room conditions, then the seeds of lofant will give friendly shoots. And you will receive flowering plants this year. After the second pair of true leaves appears, the plants need to be peaked in individual pots and grown until the threat of return frosts disappears.
- By sowing directly at the site of cultivation. Seeds can be sown in soil in May, in grooves with a depth of about 2 cm. Plantings after emergence are thinned out, carefully grown. Usually such agastaches grow faster, but flowering in the first year can not wait, and it will be shorter.