Stork And Its Watercolor Flowers. Growing, Care, Types. Photo

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Stork And Its Watercolor Flowers. Growing, Care, Types. Photo
Stork And Its Watercolor Flowers. Growing, Care, Types. Photo

Video: Stork And Its Watercolor Flowers. Growing, Care, Types. Photo

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Among the plants that are used in the design of alpine slides, there are many touching stars. But only the stork is able to outshine even such legendary flowers as edelweiss. Known to most gardeners for its aggressive and annoying fellow weed, the stork is able to surprise with both its variety of species and its unique details. Its velvety dense leaves seem to be a luxurious fabric, and the flowers are so vibrant and shining that they immediately attract attention. It is one of the most spectacular summer blooming plants for clearing rock crevices.

Stork, or rake (Erodium)
Stork, or rake (Erodium)


  • Ornamental relatives of the common weed
  • Stork species
  • Using storks in garden decoration
  • Conditions necessary for storks
  • Stork care
  • Wintering of storks
  • Pest and disease control
  • Reproduction of stork

Ornamental relatives of the common weed

Storks are far from the most popular plants and when their name is mentioned, the first reaction is most often negative. Such a reputation is explained very simply: an ordinary annual weed, which is equally an invader of vegetable gardens and fields and a medicinal plant, became famous for its taproots and stickiness, and not decorativeness. But other species of storks are completely different from him. And it would be a big mistake to judge them by the cicut stork or the crane (Erodium cicutarium). These are relatives of geraniums, only with denser greens and slightly different, but still very touching flowers.

Stork species

Storks are a fairly large genus of herbaceous perennials and annuals that are found throughout Eurasia in a temperate climate and are especially common in the Mediterranean. Out of 80 natural species, only 6 plants have spread as an ornamental culture. But they are all extremely decorative. Their beauty of flowers is not inferior in decorativeness to their densely pubescent foliage. But the attractive details of tiny plants cannot overshadow their unpretentiousness and longevity. If storks are planted in the right place, they will become one of the most touching accents in the design of rocky gardens for many years to come.

Stork, or Rake (Erodium) - medium-sized perennials with a height of 10 to 50 cm, creating leaf cushions, the diameter of which always exceeds the height of the plant. The root system is fibrous-pivotal, powerful enough. The taproot has several lateral branches. Stems are open, ascending, less often straight, stand out for their "stickiness" and roughness, branch from the base and turn red over time. Oval or oval-lanceolate, often feathery leaves in basal rosettes are densely arranged and stand out with a dense edge, which gives them a gray or silver color. The edge with beautiful teeth only decorates the foliage.

The dense pillow of leaves, soft, and begging to be touched, contrasts beautifully with stones and seems luxurious. But you can truly appreciate the beauty of these plants only when they begin to bloom. In the middle of summer, sometimes until autumn, on thin, medium-high peduncles, five-petal flowers with a light white, pink or lilac color rise, on which veins stand out brightly, giving the flowers the effect of radiance and amazing beauty of details, and the colored pistil and stamens in the center make each flower even more touching. The seeds of the plant hide in unusual seedlings up to 4 cm long.

Stork, or rake (Erodium)
Stork, or rake (Erodium)

Types of storks that are used as decorative:

Reichard's stork (Erodium reichardii, we also know as the stork) is the most popular stork, the appearance of which is considered the standard and most spectacular. The leaf cushion of the plant is unusually dense. Oval, with a gray-green color, the leaves sit on powerful petioles and stand out both with a beautiful pattern of veins and a carved edge of rounded plates. The diameter of the leaf cushion slightly exceeds 20 cm.

Short peduncles up to 15 cm in height bear single flowers. Because of the shortened "legs" it seems as if they are practically lying on a pillow of leaves. White or light pink flowers with oval or obovate petals up to 1.5 cm long flaunt with reddish-purple streaks similar to streaks. This miniature plant blooms in June and July. He has different varieties, differing in color of flowers (white "Alba", light pink "Roseum", etc.)

Reichard Stork, or Dubrovnik Stork (Erodium reichardii)
Reichard Stork, or Dubrovnik Stork (Erodium reichardii)

The Corsican Stork (Erodium corsicum) is a compact and very touching plant. With a bush height of about 10 cm and only a slightly larger diameter, a pillow of beautiful, velvety-gray leaves seems surprisingly dense and unusual. Flowers on its background look just huge. Wide, almost adjoining, with a watercolor white-pink color, they adorn almost the entire surface with bright cherry veins. The flowers seem to be pearls against the background of dark leaves.

Corsican Stork (Erodium corsicum)
Corsican Stork (Erodium corsicum)

The golden stork (Erodium chrysanthum) is an unusual slow-growing stork whose flowers are a bit like daffodils. The only decorative stork is dioecious, in which the female form flaunts yellowish flowers with dark veins and purple pistils, and the male form - creamy large flowers with white veins and pink anthers. In the plant, feathery leaves with narrow lobes seem strikingly curly and dense, resemble needles from a distance, but the softness of the gray-silver edge is quickly given off by a herbaceous perennial. The flower stalks reach only 15 cm in height, but the flowers are collected in bunches of several pieces, which makes them even more striking.

Golden Stork (Erodium chrysanthum)
Golden Stork (Erodium chrysanthum)

Tatar stork (Erodium tataricum) is a species with very beautiful bright green leaves on long cuttings, which stand out in a lanceolate-oblong shape, and a double pinnate section, and beautiful teeth of lobes. It seems to be an amazingly lacy plant. Above a lush and seemingly curly cushion of leaves, flower stalks up to 20 cm in height with umbrellas of 3-5 flowers with short, very interesting pointed sepals and asymmetrical obovate, purple petals up to 1.5 cm long rise.

Erodium rocky or erodium geliantolistny (Erodium cheilanthifolium) - Spanish malozimostoykoe plant, creating hard pillows of dissimilar to other types of its density pinnatisected grayish leaves. This look seems less welcoming, but it creates the tightest pillows. It blooms from mid-summer to September, releasing flowers that are very graceful and unique in color: they have three white lower petals decorated with pink-cherry veins, and the two upper ones are brighter and show off with a spot with a purple-black color. In addition to the basic type, the very popular and gray-green variety "White Pearls" with delicate veins.

Stony Stork, or Helianthifolium Stork (Erodium cheilanthifolium)
Stony Stork, or Helianthifolium Stork (Erodium cheilanthifolium)

Manescavi Stork (Erodium manescavi) is a Pyrenean species with more brightly colored flowers, a much more powerful plant. The bushes reach a height of 40-50 m, in diameter - more than 60 cm. Oval-lanceolate basal leaves in a dense edge are divided into lobes (up to 12 pieces). Flowers are located on high peduncles in loose inflorescences of 5-9 pcs. The petals of the plant are narrow, asymmetrical, up to 2 cm long. The color is lilac-purple. On the two upper petals, in addition to dark veins, variegated spots are also brightly distinguished. It blooms in July and August, sometimes flowering continues in September.

Manescavi Stork (Erodium manescavi)
Manescavi Stork (Erodium manescavi)

Using storks in garden decoration

Touching storks are plants with an extremely limited scope of use in landscape design. These are plants for decorating rocky gardens and nothing more. They will fit into the look of both classic alpine slides and large rockeries; in flower beds, even with mulch made from stone chips, they are still rarely used. Traditionally, rutniks are placed as soloists - a bright decoration of crevices between stones, gradually growing and turning into a seemingly "wild", but still such a unique touching decoration of a rocky landscape. Due to the density of the pillow and the water color of the flowers, storks cannot get bored, the plant looks amazingly self-sufficient and reveals the beauty of even the most modest stone chips.

Without exception, all storks are suitable for mini-rock gardens, portable stone gardens and container design. Subject to additional decoration, they can be used to decorate terrace potted gardens or seating areas.

Today, storks are experiencing a period of popularity again, and some designers are experimenting with this plant in mixborders, planting storks in borders or on lawns and meadows of ground cover, using their dense textures for new effects. But such use requires a very scrupulous selection of soil and is possible only where it comes to conditions similar to stone gardens.

The selection of partners for the stork is a thankless task. The plant can also be planted in ensembles, but it always looks better in solo parts, in splendid isolation. Storks can not only suppress other plants, but also emphasize their shortcomings (for example, against its background, styloid phlox bushes and chippings seem to be neglected and even inconspicuous after flowering).

Conditions necessary for storks

When collecting soil for these plants, you must, first of all, take care of its drainage. Any garden soil with good water permeability is suitable for storks, regardless of its fertility. Stork Reichard and Corsican need calcium-rich soil, Maneskavi stork loves poor soils and dies in fertile ones, the rest can be planted in more nutritious soil. For all storks, soils with a weak lime reaction are preferred.

Storks grow only in sunny, well-lit areas. The sun-drenched southern areas are perfect for them. None of the stork species will tolerate even light shading.

Stork, or rake (Erodium)
Stork, or rake (Erodium)

Stork care

These touching plants on the alpine slides require little or no maintenance. Storks are drought-resistant crops that tolerate poor soils well, which do not need irrigation or feeding. If the drought is delayed during the flowering period, then to increase its total duration, deep watering can be carried out (but not to allow waterlogging of the soil). Sometimes, to accelerate growth, systemic watering is recommended for young plants.

If you want to achieve a more lush flowering, to significantly increase the decorative effect in the summer, two additional fertilizing of the stork with a complex mineral fertilizer is carried out - before and after flowering. But these are not mandatory, but additional procedures. In fact, mandatory maintenance comes down to mulching only - summer measures to prevent plants from getting wet, which also stabilize the soil temperature, allowing you to admire more spectacular and abundant flowering. For storks, mulching is carried out only with fine stone chips or decorative aquarium soil based on crushed stones. But sand mulch is perfect for this plant.

In most cases, storks do not need formation. But if the plant is developing too actively or you want to thicken it, then this can be done very simply - pinching the tops of the shoots. It is advisable to remove dry old leaves and faded inflorescences in a timely manner.

Wintering of storks

Winter hardiness of storks directly depends on the type of plant. Reichard's most popular stork is quite hardy and does not require shelter for the winter. Provided that well-drained soils are selected, the golden stork hibernates without problems. The Maneskavi stork is less winter-hardy and can only survive with an air-dry shelter (they create a hilling of their dry soil and leaves around the plant, and then install a frame and cover it with non-woven materials, reinforcing it with spruce branches on top). An air-dry shelter is also recommended for the Corsican and Heliantholist storks, but the latter plant is best grown in an alpine greenhouse or in containers with a transfer for the winter for reliable protection from frost and dampness.

Pest and disease control

The only thing that threatens storks in garden culture is dampness and waterlogging, which can both stimulate the spread of rot and become a factor in infection with fungi and infections. When spots appear on the leaves, they are treated with a fungicide. Pests are not afraid of storks.

Stork, or rake (Erodium)
Stork, or rake (Erodium)

Reproduction of stork

All storks reproduce quite simply (with the exception of the golden stork, the reproduction of which is extremely difficult, which partially explains the rarity of this plant).

Stork seeds can be sown both immediately after harvest and in spring, in small beds with loose and drained soil. Sowing for a plant is carried out to a depth of no more than 2 cm. You can also use the method of growing seedlings from seeds immediately after collection. When sown in a light sand-earth mixture, they germinate in a bright place for about 1 month, but this plant still needs a temperature in the range of 10 to 16 degrees. Self-seeding can also be used as seedlings, which appears quite actively in most storks (if you do not cut off the ripening seedlings).

A much easier way is to separate the bushes in the spring. Despite the fact that storks have taproots, the dense cushions of adult crops are always formed by dozens of plants. If you carefully dig them up and divide them, leaving large 2-3 divisions, provide the plant with more attentive care, the stork will take root in a new place and quickly start growing.

Suitable for storks and cuttings. In spring, young shoots are cut at the plant, leaving 7-8 cm from the top. Cuttings are rooted in a mixture of sand and peat or sand and garden soil after treatment with a growth stimulant. While maintaining a stable moisture content, rooting (as well as seedlings) takes about 1 month.

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