Gardening

Astrancia: [Cultivation, Irrigation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

The Astrantia major is one of the 10 plants that are part of the genus Astrantia . This genus is characterized by its showy palm-shaped leaves and delicate flowers that are grouped and arranged in a manner similar to that of a star.

It originally comes from the mountain meadows, grasslands, forest glades, and streams within central and southern Europe and western Asia. They were cultivated in gardens since the 16th century and are currently used as an ornamental plant or in flower arrangements.

The astrancia also known for its purgative and laxative properties. Both the roots and the plants have active principles that trigger a slight diuresis. It can be used in infusion or powder in small quantities.

Important points when sowing astrance:
  • Scientific name: Astrantia major.
  • Common name: Atrancia, astrantia, asterisk, female sanicle, mountain sanicle.
  • Height: 70 centimeters.
  • Need for light: Sun and semi-shade.
  • Temperature: Temperate and cold climates (13ºC to 18ºC).
  • Irrigation: Moderate.
  • Fertilizer : Organic fertilizer.

What characteristics does the astrance have?

The astrancia is an herb perennial and robust that grows to between 40 to 70 centimeters high, sometimes up to 1 meter. Its stems are long and hollow, free of villi or glands. The leaves can be basal or caulinar.

However, they are all dark green in color and divided into 3 or 5 lobes with serrated edges. The flowers are small, but they are grouped in clusters of 30 to 50 specimens forming a white or red umbel.

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In turn, each umbel is surrounded by bract leaves, generally longer than the flowers. They bloom in summer . The fruit has an oval shape that is always closed. It is 6 to 8 millimeters long and is covered in overlapping scales.

When to sow the astrance?

The time to sow astrance will depend on the type of method to be used. If sowing is planned from seed, it is advisable to do so during the fall , or shortly before spring, to take advantage of the low temperatures in the stratification.

On the other hand, if the propagation method is through division, then it is recommended to do it during the fall.

Where to plant the astrance?

The astrancia is a plant that needs the light of the sun to reach their full potential. However, it can only withstand direct sunlight in places where soil moisture is constant.

For best results, it should be planted in partially sunny locations, where it receives sunlight for a few hours during the morning. If you don’t get enough, your flowering will be reduced.

It is recommended to grow it in areas that have a cool climate and that the temperature during the night is less than 21ºC. However, if the temperature drops dramatically in winter , protection must be provided to prevent damage.

How to prepare the land?

The astrancia is undemanding with soil type, but prefers rich soil organic matter, with a pH slightly acidic or neutral, and at good levels of moisture because it can not survive in dry soil.

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The ideal soil for its cultivation is one with a clay-calcareous texture. If the soil is sandy or poor, it can be fertilized in early spring and mid-summer with manure , humus, or compost. However, fertilizing is not necessary in nutrient-rich soils.

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How do we water the astrance?

The astrance needs moist soils to survive as it does not tolerate drought. To do this, you must take advantage of the humidity provided by rainwater each season, without giving rise to flooding.

However, in case the rains are not enough to maintain the humidity of the substrate , it should be watered frequently but moderately, either by manual or mechanical means.

How often do we water the astrance?

In the case of astrance , it is necessary to maintain soil moisture constantly, once or twice a week, especially during its growing season and summer.

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During the other times of the year, waterings should be moderate and less frequent, once a week, always ensuring that the soil does not dry out completely.

How to sow an astrance step by step?

The cultivation of the astrance can be done by means of seeds and through the division of the plant. The steps for sowing by each method are shared below.

By seed

The seeds of astrance have internal dormancy. To start sowing, it is recommended to carry out the cold stratification process for 2 or 3 months, although they can also be sown directly in the garden in early autumn.

  1. In a container, place the seeds in the refrigerator for 8 weeks to simulate the low temperatures of winter .
  2. Place the seeds in boxes with peat, garden soil and humus in a 1: 1: 1 ratio, cover them with a thin layer of moist substrate and with a plastic film. Keep them in a place at a temperature of 20ºC to 23ºC.
  3. Once the buds have appeared, remove the plastic film and place them in a more illuminated place.
  4. Rinse the seedlings and wait for them to produce a couple of true leaves.
  5. Transplant to the ground or to pots during the months of May or June.
  6. Take care of the humidity of the soil and protect from drafts.

By division

This procedure can be done in the spring, before the first leaves appear, or in the fall, when the growing season is over .

  1. Select a healthy, mature bush, 3-4 years old.
  2. Divide a section of stems with leaves and roots and transplant into a hole twice the size of the section, with previously fertilized substrate.
  3. Water abundantly to compact the soil.
  4. Wait 4 weeks for the plant to start producing buds.

What care does the astrance need?

The astrancia is a noble plant that requires little care. The most important has to do with maintaining the correct moisture in the soil and not saturating it to avoid root rot and exposure to fungal diseases.

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What pests and diseases affect the astrance?

The astrance has few problems with pests or diseases. However, it is generally affected by powdery mildew , aphids, aphids, and snails.

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