Polygala Myrtifolia: [Crop, Irrigation, Associations, Pests and Diseases]

Important points when planting Polygala myrtifolia
  • Where to sow? Full light. It needs a lot of sunlight.
  • When?  In spring and late summer.
  • How do we prepare the land?  Removed, eliminating weeds . With substrate rich in organic matter and humus.
  • How do we water?  With drip
  • How often do we water?  In summer abundant. Rest of the year scarce.
  • Plagues and diseases?  Disease resistant, mealybugs and aphids can sometimes appear.

Polygala myrtifolia is a perennial shrub native to South Africa, it belongs to the Polygalaceae family and is known as polygala or Cape milkmaid. Today it can be found in many places, preferably in hot climates.

Its name derives from the Greek words «poly», which means a lot, and «gala» milk, due to the ability of many species to produce a milky sap. In Latin myrti  is «myrtles» and folia  are «leaves».

One of the most striking characteristics of this plant is its mauve flowers . It is a very resistant and fast growing species that adapts to multiple gardens, both indoors and outdoors .

The size of the polygala ranges between 1.5 and 3 meters. It has a woody and resistant stem, with many branches covered with small, oval, green or even gray leaves.

Polygala myrtifolia consists of more than five hundred species that thrive in warm regions around the world. It is an elegant shrub, with an upright habit, highly valued by the end consumer for its early and wonderful purple flowering .

When to sow Polygala myrtifolia?

Polygala myrtifolia can be grown from seed in the spring and from semi-mature cuttings that can be obtained and sown in late summer.

Its best planting time is definitely spring, especially in regions with very dry climates.

Where to do it?

Polygala myrtifolia is a very resistant plant , but it will grow better in full sun, both in pot and in soil, although in pots it is necessary to be more careful with watering as it consumes more water.

This plant is very common to use and create flower beds in the garden, forming hedges, or as an isolated specimen.

And although it needs a lot of sun, it can also live in semi-shady areas that vary with the seasons, although it will produce fewer flowers. It has a considerable tolerance to cold, but in the presence of prolonged frosts it is better to find a place for its shelter.

As it has a very good adaptation to maritime climates, it is ideal as a shrub plant for coastal gardens, on slopes and rockery due to its low maintenance.

How to prepare the land?

The type of soil for growing plants is extremely important. Polygala myrtifolia is not demanding about the soil, but it is necessary to provide it with a good substrate rich in organic matter.

It prefers saline soils, but it is necessary to guarantee good drainage and a certain amount of humus for good development.

If the soil does not provide what the polygala myrtifolia requires then it cannot grow, multiply or flourish well and healthy. It requires compost to be provided , either in liquid form or a slow-release type of compost.

How do we water the Polygala myrtifolia?

In the case of the polygala myrtifolia, irrigation should be abundant during the hottest season in the summer and a little more scarce or moderate during the rest of the year.

This plant tolerates water shortages. However, if you want to see it flourish throughout the year, you have to dedicate frequent watering, but without getting waterlogged.

How do we sow a Polygala myrtifolia step by step?

Polygala myrtifolia does not require great care or special procedures for its cultivation, however, the following steps are recommended to obtain a good multiplication.

  1. Select the cutting or the seed
  2. Prepare a substrate rich in organic matter, light with some humus and with good drainage capacity.
  3. The substrate must be special for outdoor plants since polygala myrtifolia is a rustic plant.
  4. Choose a pot that is not excessively large. Thus, Polygala myrtifolia will make better use of the new substrate since the roots tend to develop in more quantity on the perimeter of the new pot.
  5. Place a small layer of gravel or expanded clay at the bottom of the pot to aid drainage.
  6. Sow in early spring and in full sun so that it takes advantage of the hotter months to take root more strongly.
  7. Water abundantly and without stagnation.
  8. Place the plant in full sun.
  9. Fertilize every 20 days with mineral fertilizer during the summer to facilitate flower production.

In the case of planting Polygala myrtifolia in the garden and if the soil is very clayey, it is advisable to add washed river sand to increase its aeration and prevent it from caking.

The soil must also be enriched with the substrate for outdoor plants between 20 to 50% depending on the quality of the soil.

What favorable associations does it have?

The association of compatible plant crops produces benefits compared to their separate cultivation, in addition to the use of light, water and / or nutrients.

Polygala myrtifolia is an extremely elegant shrub that could well add that distinctive touch in the garden. Precisely and thanks to its versatility that allows it to form borders or massifs, it can be combined with other plants to contrast color, shape and texture.

What pests and diseases attack Polygala myrtifolia?

Polygala myrtifolia is rarely affected by many pests or insects. Drier climates can cause problems with mealybugs or aphids.

These pests can be eradicated if you are attentive to their appearance. Other problems stem from poor soil drainage or lack of compost.

The most common is that the plant does not bloom, looks unhealthy if it is very flooded, does not receive enough sunlight or does not have a nourished soil.

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