Lakonos - weed-like exotic
Mysterious, tropical, exotic, alluring - this appears lakonos in botanical gardens and landscape projects. But in many areas, this amazing perennial, revealing its special beauty at the end of the garden season, only on the eve of a colorful autumn, appears like a weed. And the cultivation of this plant does not resemble the usual exotics in any way, it is so unpretentious and hardy. And this contrast - the ability to grow without interference and help and a bright appearance - makes the plant even more attractive. And if you surround the lakonos with care, then it will become an exotic pride of the collection.
Lakonos - berry perennial from the category of exotics
Known around the world as a phytolacca, we have an amazing exotica plant better known by the name of laconicus, although it has many other nicknames - kermes berries, Jewish ivy, greasy grass. And although it is not entirely clear whether the phytoluca got its name laconia for its coloring juice, its density and viscosity, or for the lacquer sheen of berries, this plant is really difficult to confuse with any other.
Lakonos is known to many, first of all, as a healing plant. Forgetting caution, the berries of this plant are actively distributed and consumed. But phytolacca is a plant that, while possessing strong healing properties of mainly external use, requires a balanced, careful approach to its administration under the supervision of a doctor. All parts of the laconia are poisonous, and if used improperly, can lead to serious health problems. So, despite the active use of the laconicus by official medicine, self-medication is not worth it, and the poisonousness of the plant should be taken into account when used in the design of the garden (especially if you have small children). Touching the leaves of a pacifier can cause skin irritation, the roots are poisonous, like berries. And you should not forget about it under any circumstances, working with the plant only with appropriate skin protection.
Fitolakki (Phytolacca) are for us unconditional exotics. They came to Europe as weed plants, accidentally introduced, but at the same time they took root quite quickly and as a very interesting, large perennial that does not require special care for the second half of the season. In nature, lakonos grows on both American continents, found in Asia and Africa. Our interest in them is growing, but as a decorative culture, the phytolacchus is still considered something exotic and unusual. Although as a weed that fell into the gardens by chance, it is often found and often removed by unidentified people.
Lakonos stands out for its fleshy rhizomes - thickened, juicy and so unlike ordinary herbaceous perennials of our climate. The weight of the roots in adult phytoluca bushes can reach 10 kg, and the roots spread more and more, penetrate deep into the soil, their main mass is at a level of 40-50 cm and below. On the rhizome of the lacquer there are additional regeneration buds, which in combination with buds at the base of last year's stems allow the plant to recover under any circumstances even after the most unsuccessful winters. In the spring, shoots begin to rise actively from the buds of the lacunas, and literally in a matter of weeks they form quite powerful bushes, surprising at the growth rate.
Lakonosy are large and powerful plants with shoots up to 2 m high, which in size and appearance are more likely to resemble shrubs, rather than herbaceous plants. The branches are woody, very strong, straight at the bottom and branching at the top. Usually a plant develops in the form of a dense sphere with a thick, ornamental, powerful crown, neat in outline. The bark of many laconia is reddish-purple.
The exoticism and identity of the plant, the effect of an extremely unusual, but at the same time patterned crown give their leaves to the laconicas. Large, up to 20-30 cm long, whole elliptical leaves sit on the shoots alternately on short light petioles. In some species of phytoluca, the leaves are pointed at the ends, while in others they are almost oval. The coarse toothed margin is also the exception rather than a sign of this plant. The leaves of the lacunosa are extremely variable in color: the classic light green is often replaced by a brighter and more light green shade or a darker forest one. The leaves change color from season to season, from spring lighter and brighter to summer muffled, but most of all metamorphoses occur in the fall, when the whole phytoluca repaints in purple. At the top of the shoots, the leaves are most often more lanceolate. The foliage of the plant, especially when rubbed, emits a not too pleasant smell.
A unique feature of lakonosov is flowering and fruiting. The inflorescences collected in candles and somewhat resembling chestnut blossoms are erect and dense, lacy, and cob-shaped. Inflorescences reach a height of 10-25 cm with a diameter of 5 cm. Small white-greenish or white-lilac flowers are collected in them. Completely repeats the shape and size of inflorescences and fertility. Blooming and fruiting phytolucia seems to be decorated with luxurious lace candles. This spectacle is so beautiful that it cannot but attract the eye. Juicy, berry-like fruits externally cause associations with raspberries, blackberries or mulberries, and other tasty and edible berries. They are extremely mouth-watering and attractive. But this impression is misleading, because the phytoluca berries are poisonous and their uncontrolled independent use, even in a minimal amount, is very risky. In some laconia, the fruits are rounded, in others they consist of single-seeded segments, ribbed. But an invariable feature is a bright gloss of berries that look like varnished (according to one theory, it was because of this brilliance that the plant got its domestic name).
Types and varieties of laconic
About 25 plant species are combined in the genus Lakonos (Phytolacca), most of which are very attractive and unusual. But only three types of phytolacca, which are considered basic, “took root” as cultural ones. The remaining plants are grown mainly for medical purposes, under strict control.
Lakonos American (Phytolacca americana, in our catalogs, plants can still use the synonym name Lakonos ten-stamen — Phytolacca decandra) This plant is considered a reference. With bushes up to 2 m high, the American phytoluca flaunts with light green, bright oval leaves that create an ornamental pattern on a pillow-shaped bush. Small, slightly light green flowers are collected in straight slender candles. The flowering of this pokeweed starts in July and continues until the very autumn, after flowering, the berries develop very quickly, forming even denser cob pyramids from round shiny berries (it is easy to distinguish from other species by the shape of the fruit). Ripened berries are almost black. A wave with a change of colors from white to magenta and ink seems to pass through the fertility. The stems are usually repainted in bright raspberry, decorating the bushes and after shedding fruit. Full ripening of berries ends in September, they last a long time on the plant, although such pyramid ornaments can significantly suffer from birds. The phytolacchus retains its attractiveness until the first frost, it decorates the garden even in October.
Highly decorative plant is and Berry pokeweed, or Fitolakka grape (Phytolacca acinosa) Is a species actively used in Chinese medicine that contains a very high concentration of saponin and is dangerous for the internal use of rhizomes (this does not interfere with eating young shoots and leaves at home). A plant in which the color of the rhizome repeats the color of the flowers (white-colored forms always with white roots, and pink-colored ones with purple), stands out with darker leaves with a pointed tip and segmented berries, which are somewhat reminiscent of blackberries or mulberries.
There is another species that is considered very promising - more compact Lakonos multi-stamen, orLakonos mace-bearing (Phytolacca polyandra) It has much larger leaves, about 30 cm long, combined with a maximum meter-tall shoots. This lakonos blooms only at the end of summer, and the flowers in dense brushes are not pale, but saturated purplish-pink. Mock fruit show off with shiny black berries.
Despite the fact that every laconicum annually dies the whole aerial part, the plant is a full-fledged perennial. Lakonos retains its attractiveness from the moment the new shoots begin to grow and until severe frosts arrive. Large greens also look good in the first half of the season, although the phytoluca demonstrates all its beauty only in the fall. She is one of the most versatile perennials that can create a beautiful attractive spot.
In the design of the garden lakonos use:
- as a background plant;
- in landscape landings;
- as a blooming decoration of decorative compositions in late summer and autumn;
- as a cut crop (inflorescences are very long);
- along hedges, fences, fences, buildings, “boring” walls;
- for flower ribbon;
- as a masker and for green screens around recreation areas;
- for large-leaf accents, games with textures and patterns;
- as an exotic in ceremonial compositions;
- in groups of shrubs with smaller leaves;
- as a stock for large trees with a translucent crown;
- in the role of a high soloist on flower beds;
- against a lawn with solitary bushes.
Conditions Required by Lakonos
This is one of the most unpretentious and hardy perennials that can only be planted in your garden. In fact, the only thing you need to take care of is sufficient soil fertility. Poor soil leads to the fact that the laconia grows slowly, will be low, only a “pale copy” of its relatives. Otherwise, he is completely unpretentious. Within neutral soils without strong acidity, it can settle on medium, and on light, and on heavy soil. Loamy clay loams are ideal.
Fitolaki are light-loving plants that feel great in any bright area. But even in shading, they will still become a wonderful textural accent. Lakonosy adapt to non-bright places quite easily, however, shading affects the abundance of flowering and delays fruiting at a later date.
In order for the plant to maintain decorativeness for as long as possible, it did not suffer from the first cooling, it is better to place it in places protected from wind and draft. On windy grounds, young shoots may suffer in the event of an unsuccessful spring.
Plants are planted according to the usual method, but in very deep and wide landing pits, carefully handling the roots.
It is believed that this plant is able to grow like a weed. But high decorative foliage and abundant flowering with fruiting can not be achieved without care. Especially if you planted an American phytolacca variety. A plant of this species loves abundant watering and suffers greatly from droughts, so if it is possible to introduce regular procedures or at least compensate for the heat, the attractiveness of the laconicus will only benefit from this. But if you can’t water it, or you have limited yourself to only 1-2 deep watering, this varnish will still please you. Other phytoluccas do not need watering, but in extreme drought they are still welcome.
The rest of the care comes down to the removal of the aerial part of the plant after the arrival of frost. Plants must be cut to the ground.
In order to preserve not only those buds that are located on the rhizomes, but also the main buds of renewal at the base of the shoots during the winter, it is advisable to mulch the phytoluca in regions with severe winters - cover it with a layer of dry leaves, humus, peat or any other mulch available to you, creating a patch in 10 cm above the plant. That's all the measures under which the phytoluca successfully wintered in any weather surprises.
Pest and Disease Control
Fitolakka is justly considered one of the most sustainable garden perennials. Pests and diseases on the plant are extremely rare, but the phytoluc of pests repels pests from neighboring plants (it is especially effective against fruit garden pests - sawflies, codling moths, etc.).
Sowing the pokeweed seeds
In phytoluca, they quickly lose their germination, so you need to sow the seeds immediately after harvest. In the middle lane with early frosts, they may not mature, but usually the crop can be harvested every year. Sowing phytolacques is carried out without cleaning from the pulp of berries, into the soil on the beds. Deeply berry is not necessary. After stratification, the seeds in spring give active early seedlings that appear as soon as the soil warms up. Crops are developing very quickly, the strongest ones will give the first inflorescences already this year, but you should not rush to transfer plants to a permanent place. The transplant is carried out in mid-spring the next year after the emergence of seedlings. Seedlings reach their normal size no earlier than the third year.
Fitolaki can be divided into several parts and receive plants by the vegetative method. But you can only divide plants at a young age, since the rhizome is already deeply buried by the age of five, its weight is about a dozen kilograms, it is impossible to dig a plant without damage and serious injuries.
The plant is actively distributed thanks to birds, often gives self-seeding, if the berries are left on the bushes. Young shoots can be used as ready seedlings.