Digitalis: planting and care, seed cultivation, types and varieties
The digitalis herb, also called Digitalis, is a member of the Podorozhnikovy family, but it used to be part of the Norichnikov family. The scientific name digatilis comes from the Latin word translated as "thimble." The composition of this genus includes approximately 35 species. In nature, such a plant is widespread in the Mediterranean, but it can be found in other areas of Europe, in North Africa and West Asia. 4 species of digitalis grow in the Caucasus, and 2 species - in the European part of Russia and in Western Siberia. Digitalis prefers to grow on the edges and glades of the forest, among shrubs and meadows.
Digitalis is a herbaceous biennial or perennial plant, while in the Western Mediterranean you can meet digitalis in the form of a shrub or shrub. The shoots are unbranched and stiff, their height varies from 0.3 to 1.5 m. The greenish large whole-leaf plates have a lanceolate and oblong shape, they are sharp, alternately arranged, gradually turning into bracts. Bilateral or single apical racemose inflorescences consist of large irregularly shaped flowers, painted in light red, yellow or purple. The bell-shaped flowers have a special arrangement, when a fly, a bumblebee, a bee or a wasp gets into them, pollen showers on it, then such an insect moves to another flower, transferring the pollen to itself. This is how pollination occurs. This plant blooms in June, and blooms in the first autumn weeks. The fruit is a box, inside of which there are many small seeds of brown color, they remain viable for 2-3 years. One bush can produce about 2 million seeds. Any species and variety of digitalis is poisonous, in this regard, they are forbidden to plant in flower beds of child care facilities. Certain types of digitalis are grown as ornamental plants, while others are better known as medicinal. The foliage of most species includes glycosides, they are used in alternative and traditional medicine. Such a plant is resistant to frost and drought, as well as undemanding to the care and composition of the soil.
Digitalis blooming in the second year after sowing! / Digitalis Growing
Watch this video on YouTube
Digitalis Growing from Seeds
Sowing for seedlings is carried out in the second half of March. Seeds need to be pre-soaked, for this they need to be filled with water, which should be replaced every six hours. Duration of soaking - 7 days. Prepared seeds should be distributed on the surface of the substrate, then they are covered with a thin layer of sand. The container should be covered with a film or glass and put away in a warm place in which the consecration should be soft and diffused. Seedlings may appear half a month after sowing.
Initially, the development of seedlings is very slow. When the formation of the first true leaf plates ends, the plant must be pickled. They can be planted in individual cups or in a container that is larger and larger than the previous one, observing a distance of 7-10 centimeters between seedlings. To care for such seedlings is quite simple. It should be watered as the soil mixture dries, regularly gently loosen the surface of the substrate, protect from drafts and from direct sunlight.
When 15 days are left before digitalis are planted in the open soil, hardening procedures should be started, they will help adapt the seedlings to unusual conditions in the garden. For this, seedlings are taken out every day to the balcony or to the street, while the duration of this procedure should be increased gradually.Planting of plants in open ground can be carried out after they can be on the street for days.
Digitalis perennial seed cultivation
Watch this video on YouTube
Digitalis landing in the open ground
What time to land
Digitalis seedlings are planted in open soil after there is no threat of freezing frost in springtime (from the last days of May to the first - June). When the time comes for planting, 5 or 6 true leaf plates should already have formed on the seedlings, and the soil should warm up very well.
It is best to choose a place for planting open and well-lit, however, such flowers can be grown in a small shade. The area under deciduous plants is not suitable for planting digitalis, because there is a moisture retention in the soil of the near-stem circle, because of this the digitalis may get wet or may not bloom. Foliage flying around in autumn from trees is also undesirable for such a plant.
How to plant digitalis
The soil on the site should be nutritious, loose and permeable (moisture stagnation should not be observed). The landing site should be prepared in advance, for this purpose digging is carried out to the depth of the shovel bayonet, while humus or compost should be added to the soil (per 1 square meter of the site from 4 to 5 kilograms). During planting between bushes, a distance of 0.15-0.2 m should be observed, and the distance between rows should be from 0.25 to 0.3 m. On the prepared site, you must first make holes, the size of which should slightly exceed the size of the root system seedlings. Then the plant from the cups should be carefully transferred into the holes, being careful not to destroy the earthen lump. Seedlings from the container must be removed very carefully with the soil and placed in the wells. When the digitalis is planted, the soil surface must be tamped, and the plantlet is well watered. In the first year after planting, a leaf rosette is formed on such a plant. The first time it blooms only in the next season.
Digitalis. Garden With Your Hands
Watch this video on YouTube
You need to grow digitalis in the garden just like many garden plants. Such a flower needs systematic weeding and loosening of the surface of the site, it also needs to be watered, fed and treated from pests and diseases in a timely manner as necessary.
Watering such flowers is necessary only in a sufficiently long dry period. If it rains regularly in the summer, then such a plant will do without watering at all. When it rains or the plant is watered, it is necessary to very carefully loosen the surface of the plot to a shallow depth. The digitalis root system has a horizontal arrangement and is very close to the surface of the site, so it is very easy to injure it when loosening.
Throughout the growing season, such a flower needs to be fed only 1 or 2 times, using a complex mineral fertilizer in liquid form (a solution of minerals must be mixed with water for irrigation). In order for the flowering to be longer, and the bushes retain their spectacular appearance until the very autumn, it is necessary to timely pick off fading flowers and inflorescences.
Transplanting digitalis to a new place is not difficult at all, because its root system has a horizontal arrangement, and it is quite easy to extract from the soil. The dug bush should be placed in a pre-prepared hole, while its size should slightly exceed the size of the root system of the plant, taken together with a lump of earth. Transplanted bushes need watering.
Diseases and pests
Digitalis is most often affected by spotting, viral mosaic, rot or powdery mildew.If the bush is very struck by spotting or powdery mildew, then it is recommended to remove it from the soil and destroy, the remaining plants should be sprayed with a fungicidal preparation solution. It should be remembered that viral diseases (for example, mosaics), decay of peduncles and root rot are not treatable; therefore, infected bushes must be removed from the soil and destroyed.
Various species of aphids can be found on digitalis. To get rid of such pests, plants need to be sprayed with Antitlin, Biotlin and Spark. Remember that such a sucking insect as aphid is considered the main carrier of dangerous viral diseases, therefore, the fight against this pest begins at the first sign of damage to the plant.
Digitalis after many years of flowering
Since the root system of such a flower is very close to the soil surface, in some cases it is exposed. In this regard, in autumn, the root system of the plant should be sprinkled with fertile soil so that the plant does not suffer during wintering.
Perennial species and varieties are characterized by a fairly high frost resistance, however, if there is little snow in winter, such a flower may freeze. When the flower stalks turn yellow and fade, they must be cut off, while the outlet must be covered with sawdust, dried leaves or spruce branches. While the bushes are young, they must be covered for the winter.
Digitalis can be propagated by seeds (seedlings and seedlings), as well as root shoots.
How to grow from seed
How to grow digitalis through seedlings is described in detail above. However, experienced gardeners prefer to sow seeds directly into open soil. It is necessary to sow in spring in the last decade of April or in the first days of May. Before sowing, seeds are prepared in the same way as when growing digitalis through seedlings. Seeds on the surface of the plot should be tried to accommodate, observing a distance between them of 15–20 centimeters. It is not necessary to deepen the seeds, they are sprinkled with a thin layer of soil. If the spring is cool enough, then it is recommended to cover the crops with lutrasil. Excessively thick seedlings must be thinned out, in this case the outlets will be larger. This plant propagates well by self-sowing.
Reproduction of digitalis by shoots
Digitalis can also be propagated vegetatively by root processes. To do this, cut off all the peduncles that have begun to fade the brushes, while leaving only the most dense inflorescences to collect seeds. About 20 days later, several basal processes should grow at the base of the cut peduncles. After each of the root sockets grows 7 or 8 leaf plates, they must be carefully separated and transplanted to a new place. Such processes will take root before the onset of the autumn period, and they will not be afraid of the coming winter. Already in the next season, such a plant will grow peduncles, and it will bloom.
Types and varieties of digitalis with photos and names
The types and varieties of digitalis that are most often cultivated by gardeners will be described below.
Digitalis purpurea (Digitalis purpurea)
The birthplace of this species is Southern, Central and Western Europe. This perennial plant is often cultivated as a biennial. Its height is about one and a half meters. On the surface of low-branched upright shoots there is a dense pubescence, there is a rosette consisting of basal leaf plates. The upper leaf plates are round-elongated, gusseted on the edge are sessile, their front surface is velvety, and on the wrong side there is felt pubescence. Regularly located leaf stems have long winged petioles.The cystic one-sided inflorescence reaches 0.8 m in length, it consists of five-centimeter-long flowers that can be painted in carmine, cream, white, pink or purple, there is a dark smear inside the corolla and short hairs on its surface. Flowering is observed throughout the summer period. Cultivated since ancient times.
There are several varieties, namely: spotted, large-flowered and gloxiniform. Of the all hybrids of digitalis gloxinus-like hybrids, the Shirley variety is of a bush variety: height of the bush is about 150 cm, flowering is long, unilateral inflorescences consist of drooping open spotted flowers that are painted inside in purple, pink or cream color. The Excelsior hybrid mix is still quite popular: flower stalks reach a height of about 1.8 m, very large flowers are placed on them in a spiral. The Pelorik mix is also quite popular: the height of the peduncles is about 1.8 m, it is covered with large flowers. A single-color selective variety of this species, called Pink Champagne, reaches a height of about 1.2 m and has a rather spectacular appearance.
Digitalis grandiflora (Digitalis grandiflora = Digitalis ambigua)
Under natural conditions, this species can be found in Western Europe, the European part of Russia, Ukraine, the Mediterranean and in South-Western Siberia. The height of such a digitalis is not more than 1.2 m. Oblong-lanceolate leaf plates have pubescence located along the edge and along the veins. The drooping racemose inflorescences consist of six-centimeter long flowers, painted yellow, inside the corolla there are brown veins. The outer surface of the flowers is covered with a slight pubescence. Cultivated since 1561.
Digitalis rusty (Digitalis ferruginea)
This species is among the most beautiful. The height of the bush can vary from 0.7 to 1.2 m, however, there are specimens of two-meter height. Slightly pubescent or bare leaf plates have an oblong-lanceolate shape. Four centimeters long, the flowers have a shape similar to that of an orchid, while the lower lip is very pronounced. Flowers can be painted in a variety of color shades: from yellow-gray, turning into cinnamon-golden or rusty, to yellowish with a pink coating. The inner surface of the corolla is covered with veins of brown-red or purple color. Flowers are part of large racemose inflorescences. Flowering is observed from mid-June to August. Cultivated since 1597.
Digitalis woolly (Digitalis lanata)
This species is the most nondescript. It is found in the wild in Moldova. This plant is a medicinal and has undoubted advantages. On a single peduncle, small flowers of yellow-brown color with purple veins bloom. Dense pubescence covers the axis of the inflorescence, the name of this species is associated with this particular feature. The plant blooms in July. Flowering time is approximately 6 weeks.
Digitalis yellow (Digitalis lutea)
In nature, this species is found in the southwestern part of Europe. The height of the bush is 0.8–1 m. There is no pubescence on shoots and oblong-oval leaf plates. The length of the yellow flowers is about 25 mm. Flowering begins in July. Cultivated since 1597. The most popular variety is Gelb Janus: the color of the flowers is yellowish.
Digitalis such as dark or obscure Tapsi, Merton, Nevada, ciliated and some other hybrid forms and species is still being cultivated.
Digitalis properties: harm and benefit
The healing properties of digitalis
Since ancient times, healers have used digitalis to treat chest and abdominal dropsy, epilepsy, with it they eliminated pain in skin diseases, and it was also used to cleanse the body and with constipation. But if the dosage was calculated incorrectly, then the person had diarrhea and vomiting, very often fatal outcomes were also observed.In this regard, over the course of a century, everyone has forgotten about this plant.
Since the 18th century, digitalis has been used in traditional medicine. At this time, he found extremely unusual properties. Leaf plates collected in the first year are the main medicinal raw material. They include 62 glycosides, for example: gitoxin and digitoxin, lanatosides A, B, C, D, E, etc. These biologically active substances are widely used in the fight against a large number of cardiovascular diseases.
Digitalis is used to:
- make the vascular walls stronger;
- improve blood circulation to tissues and muscles;
- normalize hemodynamics;
- get rid of cardiosclerosis;
- get rid of tachycardia, hypertension, myocardial dystrophy, mitral defects;
- get rid of atrial fibrillation.
Often it is digitalis woolly used to obtain medicinal raw materials. Organic acids, cardiotonic and steroid glycosides are extracted from such a plant. Much less useful substances are found in digitalis ciliated, purple and rusty, but they are still used in traditional medicine. Foliage is used to make powder, which is part of the tablets and candles. In alternative medicine, an infusion from this plant is used.
Watch this video on YouTube
Absolutely all types of digitalis in their composition contain poisons that are dangerous to humans, so self-medication with this plant should be completely eliminated. Products made on the basis of digitalis cannot be taken by people with sick lungs, angina pectoris, pericarditis, myocarditis, myocardial infarction, gastric tachycardia, and also children and pregnant women. If poisoning has occurred, vomiting, skin rashes, respiratory failure, nausea, severe pain in the abdomen, cramps, malfunctions of the heart will appear. If at least one of these symptoms appears, an ambulance must be called urgently. If for a long time you use products made on the basis of digitalis, then toxic substances will accumulate in the body, which will cause the development of anorexia, loss of appetite and hallucinations.