Zahareña: [Cultivation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

Important points when planting Zahareña

  • When? Spring and early summer are special periods for planting and harvesting the medicinal flowers of this plant.
  • Where? It is a small wild shrub that can be kept in pots and in a well-lit section of the garden, to take advantage of its medicinal properties.
  • How do we prepare the land? It requires fertile soils, with nutrients of organic origin, good drainage, although as wild plants, they do not demand too much.
  • How do we sow? By cuttings, we obtain in a short period of time potted shoots that we can later transplant to the place we want in the garden.
  • How do we pay? They don’t need anything special. Well-fertilized soils with fluid drainage in a pot. Outdoors, it practically lives in the wild without further care.
  • When do they bloom? Inspringand well into summer, its spindly stems of fine leaves usually bloom.
  • Ideal temperature? They live in temperatures between 20-25ºC in summer and withstand a maximum of 8ºC in winter.
  • How do we water? It is convenient to water them with sprays often, in hot periods and we can never allow the soil to puddle, after watering.
  • Diseases and pests? Red spider and mealybugs can mercilessly attack its small plant structure, especially in larger varieties.

What is the zahareña?

The Zahareña or Sideritis angustifolia is a very popular perennial plant also called Rabo de gato, and Terral herb or Almorrana herb, known throughout the world for its great medicinal qualities.

Rabo de gato comes from the atypical way in which its flowers are arranged to show elongated inflorescences. It grows, at most, about 30 centimeters (cms) tall.

It has a woody appearance, with a whitish general appearance, it grows in mountainous regions of limestone rocks, with a great predominance of sunlight.

It has a singular characteristic that distinguishes it: straight stems from which branches with thin leaves protrude, from which small flowers of an intense yellow color hang vertically. She is native to southern Europe and came to Spain to stay.

There are 150 varieties and it is called Zahareña because it prevails in sunny areas with rocky soils. It is important to clarify that the genus Sideritis runs from the Mediterranean slope to the African region and part of Asia, extending from the Canary Islands to the Caucasus.

It has healing, antibiotic and disinfectant properties. For this reason, its essential oils were widely used in ancient Greece to heal wounds from iron weapons received by soldiers in war. In fact, Sideritis means «he who is and has iron».

It is also used to eliminate digestive problems, ulcers are healed with frequent doses of the plant, as well as intestinal spasms. In natural medicine, with its essential oils a plasma is prepared to heal skin wounds, clean the respiratory tract, relieve cough and nasal congestion.

Its flowers are collected to prepare infusions with healing properties. Harvesting is done in the same period as cultivation, between spring and summer.

Where should we plant it?

It thrives in wild, mountainous regions with stony, limestone soils, high in calcium content. It is a rustic plant, which grows without many demands, to the point that it can be kept in flower boxes and terraces.

Does not thrive in cold, winter frost locations. But in our garden it does grow, provided that the environmental conditions of good humidity and natural light are met.

And inside the house it must always be in a very bright environment. There are varieties that adapt to hanging planters, lavishing a beautiful visual spectacle.

When should Zahareña be cultivated?

This bush must be cultivated in spring, but it is very resistant and it is transplanted and reproduced by cuttings, there is no problem doing it at any time of the year.

How do we prepare the land?

They need to live in well-drained, nutrient-rich substrate soils. It is not very demanding, because in reality this wild bushy plant is rustic, all-terrain.

Its botanical fame comes from its great effective medicinal qualities. In addition to having the advantage that it thrives in almost any terrain of the Mediterranean strip.

How to plant a zahareña step by step?

The cultivation and multiplication of this plant does not require major problems. Let’s see how to make it from cuttings.

  1. Select stems of about 10 cm and cut all the inflorescences and leaves with garden scissors. The cutting should be practically bare.
  2. Take a previously prepared pot with a well-draining, nutrient-rich substrate (holes at the bottom of the pot) and plant about 2-3 cuttings in the moist, never soggy soil.
  3. Move the pot to a semi-shaded spot and water sparingly daily.
  4. 15 days later you will see how the buds have reacted favorably, so it is time to take them to direct morning sun.
  5. A good fertilizer is convenient after about 20 days of growth. Repeat the same procedure every 3 weeks. If it is a liquid fertilizer of organic origin, better.

What care do you need?

The care of this generous plant, although not so complicated, requires certain rules that must be met. Let’s see:


Outdoors is their ideal state, they are able to live quietly in bright sunshine and semi-shade as well. On terraces, porches, gardens and in well-lit places inside the house we can have it in pots.


It must be regular, but always ensuring that the soil remains moist, not soaked.


Fertilize every 3 weeks, preferably with an organic fertilizer in liquid form. Worm humus is very effective.


The flowering period begins in spring, in mid-May, and lasts until the beginning of the summer season, when a very striking intense yellow corolla appears.

Water the plant moderately every day, to avoid root rot.

What pests and diseases attack the Zahareña?

It is very resistant, like a good rustic perennial. But mealybugs and spider mites can attack in very hot periods.

A good disinfection with low chemical composition products can be used under the recommendation of experts in the field.

Bibliography and references

  • Berdonces I Serra, Josep Lluís. (2007). Great Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Tikal Editions. Madrid Spain.
  • Obon de Castro, Concepcion; Rivera Nunez, Diego. (1991). The medicinal plants of our region. Regional Publisher of Murcia. Murcia, Spain.
  • Peris Gisbert, Juan Bautista. (2013). Valencian pharmacological ethnobotany. University of Valencia. Valencia Spain. Reproduced from:
  • Fresquet Febrer, Jose Luis. (2001). Popular use of medicinal plants in the urban environment: the city of Valencia. University of Valencia. Valencia Spain. Reproduced from:

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