All About Cornflower

Cornflower is a common wildflower that has been cultivated as a garden flower for centuries. Originally a native of the near East, cornflower now grows wild over much of Europe and the temperate regions of North America. The cornflower gets its formal name from a minor goddess, Cyanus, and its genus name from a mythical Centaur whose name was Chiron.

DIFFERENT NAMES OF CORNFLOWER

  • Common name: Cornflower, bachelor’s button, bluebottle, hurt sickle or cyanic flower.
  • Botanical name: Centaurea cyanus

 

COMMON CHARACTERISTICS

  • Varieties: Popular varieties of Cineraria are Gold Center, Hansa Dwarf, Stellata Single, Nana Compacta, Early Favourite , Master, Maxima Grandiflora, Maxima Nana, Nana Multiflora and Copaenhagen Market
  • Design ideas: Borders, cut flowers etc.
  • Height: 24-36 inches
  • Flowering season: They generally bloom in the late Spring and early summer.
  • Flower: The flowers are most commonly an intense blue colour, produced in flower heads, 1.5-3 cm diameter, with a ring of a few large, spreading ray florets surrounding a central cluster of disc florets. The blue pigment is protocyanin, which in roses is red.
  • Foliage: Cornflower has clearly narrower leaves.

GROWING DETAILS

  • Sunlight: Full sun around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Water: Regularly whenever topsoil turns dry. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, to avoid rot and fungal diseases due to overwatering.
  • Sowing season: So cornflowers from early to mid spring for early summer bloom. Also sowing fall in climates with mild winters.
  • Sowing method: Plant seeds in soil or in containers about 2 inches apart and 1-1/2 inch deep. Thin to 8 inches apart in all directions
  • Pests: Aphids and powdery mildew can be a problem attimes. Remove aphids manually with a hard spray of water. Powdery mildew is identified by a white coating on the leaves and wilted, brown foliage. Remove infected plants and burn them to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • Harvesting: Cornflower make good cut flowers. Pull up the plants in mid to late summer when they no longer look attractive.
  • Propagation: The best way to propagate cornflower is to sow the seeds directly into your garden or lawn during fall or as soon as the weather allows for spring germination.

IMPORTANT TIPS

1.Cornflower seeds need complete darkness for germination to occur.

2.Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering. Do not allow the soil to become too dry, or the plants may flop over. However, cornflower is drought tolerant and will easily spring back from under watering.

3.Feed cornflowers once per month during the spring and summer months using a balanced flower fertilizer. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dosage, and apply half the recommended dose. Cornflower can be invasive if the soil is too fertile, so avoid over-fertilizing.

4.Remove spent flowers as they fade to encourage the growth of new flowers, prolong the blooming period of the cornflower plants and decrease the number of self-sown seedlings.

USES OF CORNFLOWER

1.Dried flowers are used to make medicine.

2. You can make cornflower tea to treat fever, constipation and chest congestion.

3. Women can take it to treat menstrual disorders.

4. Cornflower can also act as a tonic for puffy eyes. Here’s how.

With this, we have come to the end of our blog. Hope you had a good read!

Happy-gardening

All About Celosia

Flowers of celosia are known as wool flowers or cockscombs. They have unusual flowers that can bloom up to 10 weeks. These flowers can have red, pink, purple, gold or bicoloured blooms. When many celosia flower blooms are next to each other.

They collectively resemble fire, which is why their name Celosia, which means burning in Greek was chosen.

The common name of cockscomb comes from the bloom’s resemblance to a rooster’s comb.

Celosia

Different Names Of Celosia

Common name: Cockscomb, Brain Celosia, Wool flower, Red fox

Botanical name: Celosia.

Varieties Of Celosia

varieties-of-cockscomb

The varieties of this plant come in many sizes, from only a few inches up to about 5 feet high. Celosia plants are classified into three groups: a crested type (Celosia cristata), a plume type (Celosia plumosa) and a spike or wheat type (Celosia spicata).

Plant features:

Life cycle: Annual

Height: 24-36 inches

Width: 6-8 inches

Flowering season: Mid-summer or mid-fall.

Foliage: Blue-green, shiny/glossy-textured.

Planting details:

Sunlight: Full sun locations allow cockscomb Celosia to grow taller. But cockscomb may grow in only partial sun, so it can happily exist when partially shaded by taller plants.

Water: Celosia loves moist soil. Although the plant can tolerate short periods of drought but it grows much better when soil remains slightly moist. While watering, remember not to overwater plant to avoid leaf spots, stem rot, root rot and other fungal diseases.

Sowing season: Cockscombs like warm weather. The seeds will typically not germinate unless the ground temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you live in an area with cool springs, start the seeds indoors four to six weeks before the expected last frost. If your area has longer summers, plant the seeds directly in your garden after the last expected frost.

Sowing method: The pretty looking plant thrives in most of the soil types, but it is better to use soil that is rich in organic matter and drains well. The pH level of the soil required should be around 6 to 7.

Care: Caring for this plant is simple and easy, with slight maintenance you can get prolifically blooming celosia flowers in your home and garden.

Pests: Spider mites and aphids are commonly found in these flowers. To avoid infection keep your plant healthy, water in limit and ensure good drainage. Spray with organic pesticide and fungicide if necessary.

Propagation: This plant drops its seeds and will quickly take over a container. To propagate this flower, collect the seeds and start the seeds indoors. Thin out the celosia sprouts so they are about 8
inches apart and plant young flowers outdoors after the last frost has passed.

So with this, we have come to the end of our article. We hope you had a good read!

Happy gardening!

Know All About Bitter gourd

Bitter gourd is actually not a vegetable but fruit.  The fruit of bitter gourd is used for consumption and various medicinal purposes. Bitter gourd consumed as juice also offers many medicinal benefits. Bitter gourd contains iron, magnesium, vitamins, and potassium. The calcium and potassium content in it is twice that of spinach and banana.

Bittergourd

Different Names of Bitter gourd

  • Common names: bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, balsam apple, etc.
  • Indian names: Hindi- Karela, Kannada-Hagalkai
  • Botanical Name: Momordica charantia

 

Benefits of Bitter gourd

  1. Helps in maintaining blood sugar levels – Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p or p-insulin which has been shown to control diabetes naturally.
  2.  Lowers bad cholesterol levels – It maintains the blood pressure of the body as it is rich in potassium, which absorbs excessive sodium in the body. This lowers heart risks.
  3. Improves skin and hair: Bitter gourd juice has powerful anti-oxidants along with vitamin A and C which prevent premature skin ageing and diminishes wrinkles.

 

Bittergourd juice

 

 

Varieties:

Bittergourd comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The cultivar common to China is 20–30 cm long, oblong with bluntly tapering ends and pale green in colour, with a gently undulating, warty surface. The bitter melon more typical of India has a narrower shape with pointed ends, and a surface covered with jagged, triangular “teeth” and ridges. It is green to white in colour. Between these two extremes are any number of intermediate forms. Some bear miniature fruit of only 6–10 cm in length, which may be served individually as stuffed vegetables.

 

Plant Features:

  • Life-Cycle: Annual
  • Height: tendril-bearing vine grows to 5 m.
  • Width/Spread: It bears simple, alternate leaves 4–12 cm across
  • Flowering season: spring
  • Flower: pale yellow
  • Foliage: Bitter melon leaves are vibrant green and are attached to a vine with long thin stems. Leaves are made up of 3 to 6 veined lobes and have jagged edges.

Planting/Growing Details:

  • Sunlight: It grows best under full sun, therefore requires around 6-8 hours of direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Water: It should be watered regularly especially when the top-soil turns dry. It is important to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Over-watering can cause rotting and fungal diseases.
  • Sowing season: Bittergourd plant care dictates planting when there is no danger of frost and temperatures have warmed.
  • Sowing method: Grown as an annual crop, seeds can be obtained from a number of suppliers and direct sown in almost any soil type, although growing bitter gourd seeds do best in deep, well-draining, sandy or silt loam.

 

Care:

Bittergourd is susceptible to most of the same diseases and insect attacks that plague squash and cucumbers. Bittergourd should be stored between 53-55 degrees F. (11-12 C.) at a fairly high humidity with a shelf life of 2-3 weeks. It is important to keep the bitter gourd fruit away from other ripening fruits to avoid hastening the ripening process.

Pests:

Mosaic virus and powdery mildew afflict bitter gourds are common pests. For this, commercial producers often cover the developing fruit with paper bags.

Propagation:

Propagation is through direct seeding and transplanting. The best medium for the seeds is a fertile, well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.7, enriched with organic matter, such as compost or dried manure. But it will tolerate any soil that provides a good drainage system. The soil must be prepared well by adding organic matter before planting.

 

 

So, with this we have come to the end of our blog. Hope this enhanced your knowldge on bittergourd, and you would now run to your kitchen to experiment with it.

Why do plants turn yellow – and what to do about it

Very often, customers tell us about their plants turning yellow. This is fairly common, and there can be a number of reasons behind this. You need to first understand the reason your plants are turning yellow, and then decide on a corrective action. Read on to find out more.

The most common reasons for plants turning yellow are as follows:

  1. Pest Problem: If you see insects living and eating your leaves, treat it with neem oil (don’t forget to mix it with some soap, if you are using pure neem oil). You can also use something a herbal insecticide like Clotol
  2. Overwatering: This is probably the most common problem faced by beginning gardeners. Yes, your plants need water – but too much of a good thing is bad :-). Your leaves would look wilted and yellow. This can also happen due to bad soil drainage. In order to fix bad soil drainage, consider adding sand to your soil, or going with a raised bed. You can also add pebbles within the soil (not on top of it). Also consider using cocopeat while creating your potting mixture – that makes sure that your soil does not harden easily, and shows good drainage characteristics. Or, you can buy our ready-made potting mix, which ensures no compaction of soil with time.
  3. Lack of sunlight: Your leaves look droopy and faded. Fix this by repositioning your plants and ensuring there’s adequate sunlight availability. Note that different species of plants have different sunlight requirements – you need to keep in mind how many hours of daily sunlight your plant would receive and make sure it is consistent with what the specific species requires. Feel free to drop us an email if you need help with a specific plant.
  4. Potassium deficiency: Edges and tips of your plants become yellow. If you notice this, you should put in some rinds of citrus fruits like oranges or lemons near the base of the plant. Also, consider putting in vermicompost. You can also put in Muriate of Potash or try this Protein Soil Enricher which is composed of Potassium Humate and Neem Cake
  5. Iron deficiency: Leaves become yellow, and also have small green veins. For this, you need to reduce the phosphorus content in your soil. Also, lower the soil PH to less than 7. Applying organic manure/compost over time can reduce your soil PH.  You can add Aluminium Sulphate to reduce the soil PH as well.
  6. Nitrogen deficiency: Tips and central veins in the leaves becomes yellow. Use organic manures/compost or fertilizers like Ghana Jeevanamrutha
  7. Zinc deficiency: You can see light discoloration between large veins in the leaves. An easy fix would be to use Zinc Sulphate Heptahydrate as a micro-nutrient

Know of other reasons why plants turn yellow, that we may have missed out ? Drop a note in the comments below.