What it is and how to grow it

The asphodel belongs to the genus Asphodelus together with another twenty species; moreover it is part of the Liliacee family, more precisely to the Asphodeloidee subfamily. This species has the Mediterranean basin as its distribution area and also extends to India. Asphodel is a perennial variety, characterized by an extended, branched and fibrous root system. It is a robust and rustic plant, which requires special care: this also applies to water supplies. In fact, this must not be watered regularly, as it manages to survive perfectly with the water it gets from the ground independently. It can be decided to supplement the water requirement with light interventions only in case of prolonged drought for a considerable period of time.

Cultivation techniques

The asphodel has long and narrow leaves, in the middle of which a floral scape stands out with a racemic inflorescence at the top composed of numerous whitish flowers. The fruit is a capsule rich in greyish seeds that are scattered naturally during the summer. Some species are of some importance as medicinal plants, while others are cultivated for ornamental purposes only. In fact, asphodel can be grown in the garden with excellent results, even if very often it lives only in arid Mediterranean scrubs and in sunny meadows, where vegetation is scarce. Instead this species is the ideal plant to decorate borders and flower beds, because it has very beautiful and decorative flowers, reminiscent of lilies. It is also easy to grow as it requires very little care.

How to fertilize and care

The asphodel needs little care so it can be grown in the garden with great ease and without major interventions. The decorative effect is undoubtedly guaranteed, since in spring the white flowers bloom all together. This plant has a great adaptability because it lives perfectly whatever the local environmental conditions: for example, it tolerates both perennial shade and direct and continuous exposure to the sun very well. It also doesn’t need to be fertilized. At the same time it lives without problems both when temperatures reach high levels during the summer and when very cold and severe winters occur. The only care that the cultivated plant needs as a decorative element of the borders and flower beds are protection from sudden and out of season frosts.

Asphodel: Parasites and diseases

Given that it is a very resistant rustic species, the asphodel is not sensitive to attacks and infestations by animal parasites, especially insects. The only thing to keep in mind is that it can be affected by root rot: it is the only fungal disease that can occur and is linked to the presence of water stagnation in the soil. For this reason it is necessary to limit watering to a minimum except when it is not strictly necessary. At the same time, the pruning of the asphodel does not risk exposing the plant to diseases. This operation serves to favor the growth of new shoots as the old stems and dried flowers are eliminated. The species propagates by division of the rhizomes (to be carried out in the autumn season) or by sowing. In this case, we proceed in summer and plant the seeds in special seedbeds. Subsequently, the seedlings are transferred to individual pots where they grow for at least 3 years; only afterwards can they be planted.

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