Gelichrisum bracts (Helichrysum bracteatum) (flower growers most often call it immortelle) belongs to the most extensive Aster family. His homeland is distant Australia.
The name of this plant comes from the Greek words "helios" - the sun and "chrysos" - gold, which speaks of the shape and color of the inflorescences. Of all the variety of immortelles, gelichrisum, or bract flowers, is best known.
Gelikhrizum is a long-cultivated ornamental plant that has been introduced into cultivation since the end of the 18th century. It is considered one of the best flowers for dry bouquets.
The plant is perennial, but under our conditions it is cultivated as an annual. Compared to other immortelles, this is the most powerful plant with inflorescences up to 5-6 cm in diameter. Its stem reaches a height of 90-100 cm, from below it is straight, slightly ribbed, and the upper part is highly branched. The leaves are elongated, narrow, rough, the whole plant is pubescent, the root system is fibrous.
Each shoot of the plant ends with a single inflorescence-basket, similar to a small sun. Therefore, the plant is named after the ancient Greek god of the sun Helios. The inflorescence consists of small tubular and ligulate flowers, collected in a flower head, which is covered with dry filmy decorative scales, which are bent inward.
These scales are tough, do not fade and do not lose color even when the inflorescences are cut off. Therefore, these plants are popularly called immortelles.
Especially beautiful are the varieties that have brightly colored shells of scales of bronze, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and white. There are varieties of gelichrizum, which also have a two-color color. Abundant flowering from July to frost.
Florists tend to grow mainly terry forms. And for dry bouquets and compositions, varieties that have pure tones with a glossy shine are especially good.
Reproduction of gelichrizum
Helichrisum propagates by sowing seeds in open ground in autumn and spring or by sowing seeds in greenhouses in the first days of April to grow seedlings. Seedlings appear in 8-10 days.
Two weeks after the emergence of seedlings, the seedlings dive into pots or into the soil of the greenhouse. They tolerate a transplant perfectly, thanks to a powerful fibrous root system. In open ground, seedlings are planted at the end of May at a distance of 15-22 cm, depending on the variety. When grown in seedlings, flowering occurs in mid-July.
The soil Gelichrizum prefers light and nutritious. It is cold-resistant and drought-resistant, grows well in open sunny places, although it tolerates light shading.
Care the plants are easy.
Thinning in permanent places when sowing seeds in the ground is done 2-3 times, leaving a feeding area for tall varieties of 25x35 cm. The plant tolerates transplanting well, develops quickly, blooms 70-80 days after sowing and blooms before frost.
Top dressing... To obtain a good quality cut, it is necessary to feed the plants with full mineral fertilizer or mullein infusion every 12-15 days, and water them in hot dry weather.
Cut inflorescences are produced at the beginning of flowering. In this case, it is advisable to pinch the central shoot in tall varieties over the 5-6th leaf. Cut shoots are tied in bunches of 10-15 pieces and dried under a canopy, hanging them down with their heads.
Cutting flowers for drying should be done when the lower 3-4 rows of the leaves of the wrapper have already moved away from the bud, and the upper ones still tightly close the center of the inflorescence. When dry, some more of the petals will open, and the center of the inflorescence will remain slightly covered. These inflorescences look the most attractive. You should not be late with the cut, because by the end of flowering, seeds with bats appear, which reduce the decorative effect of the inflorescences.
Before drying, cut inflorescences are preferably fumigated with sulfur for 10-12 hours.After this procedure, the inflorescences will fade somewhat, but after drying, they acquire their original color and become bright.
In addition to cutting, thanks to large beautiful inflorescences, gelichrizum is also used in gardening on ridges and in borders, for this purpose they use undersized varieties that have a spherical shape and are covered with bright flowers for a long time. And tall varieties can be used in the background of mixborders. Compact varieties, due to their drought resistance, feel great in containers.
A small bunch of immortelles tied to a box with a New Year's gift will bring joy to both adults and children. For such mini-bouquets, it is better to dry the dyed cmin buds, add gypsophila or graceful cereals and decorate with narrow lace or ribbon.
New Year's compositions are also very elegant, in which branches of conifers are combined with orange or red large inflorescences of helihrizum.
"Ural gardener" No. 51, 2017