Spiky Inflorescences Of Fire Safflower. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Photo

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Spiky Inflorescences Of Fire Safflower. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Photo
Spiky Inflorescences Of Fire Safflower. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Photo

Video: Spiky Inflorescences Of Fire Safflower. Care, Cultivation, Reproduction. Photo

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Video: SAFFLOWER HARVESTING 2023, January
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The appearance of safflower is often compared to thistles or artichokes, although this summer is by no means that prickly. It's just that its fiery, lush inflorescences remind of the large heads of the most unfriendly garden family. Safflower is primarily famous as an industrially important plant grown around the globe for oil and natural dyes. But its decorative properties did not attract attention immediately. Safflower is not like most garden plants, unpretentious and hardy. And its large size favorably distinguishes the plant even among the brightest garden annuals.

Dye saffron, American saffron, wild saffron, dye thistle (Carthamus tinctorius)
Dye saffron, American saffron, wild saffron, dye thistle (Carthamus tinctorius)

Content:

  • Safflower is a fiery favorite of medicinal crops
  • The use of safflower in ornamental gardening
  • Conditions for safflower
  • Safflower care
  • Cut safflower for bouquets
  • Safflower Pest and Disease Control
  • Safflower propagation

Safflower is a fiery favorite of medicinal crops

Safflower today can increasingly be found under his legitimate name - carthamus (carthamus). His plant received for the content of the unique dyeing pigment kartamine. A natural and bright dye, which turns bright yellow in aqueous mixtures, and bright red in alcoholic mixtures, determines the fiery color of safflower inflorescences. It is with this pigment that Buddhist monks dye their robes. But not only flowering will draw attention to this plant.

As a cultivated plant, only one species of safflower is grown - carthamus tinctorius, although there are more than a dozen varieties of this crop in the wild.

Safflowers on good quality garden soil can reach a height of one meter. But the diameter of the bushes in this summer is much more modest: only about 30-35 cm. A branched stem with a whitish sheen and lanceolate, glossy, with a jagged edge, dense leaves sitting on the branches evoke associations with various garden crops.

Outwardly, the plant is indeed remotely similar to thistles or artichokes, but its greenery is much brighter and more luxuriant. And the presence of sharp thorns that protect the plant and give it boldness does not negate the attractiveness of greenery. Moreover, safflower, which is distributed as a garden ornamental plant, and especially varieties intended for cutting are much less prickly than their wild relatives. Safflower inflorescences-balls reach 3-4 cm in diameter. Narrow, threadlike "petals" make them look like pom-poms, and the shape of a round ball seems especially striking against the background of prickly greenery.

The duration of safflower bloom cannot compete with the classic annuals, but it covers almost the entire summer. The first safflower inflorescences bloom in June, blooming at their peak in July-August. Safflower seems to pass the fiery baton to the crowns of trees and bushes, disappearing from the garden scene with the beginning of the autumn marathon of colors.

Safflower dye
Safflower dye

The safflower color palette includes all shades of fire - the brightest variations of yellow, orange and red. This is one of the brightest plants for fiery compositions, the illusion with flaming flowers, which is only emphasized by thin, threadlike petals.

In addition to the basic form, you can find elite varieties of dyeing safflower on sale, which, thanks to selection, have received more lush, attractive and almost thornless foliage. The best varieties of plants can be safely ranked:

  • 'White Grenade', which received its name not at all for its white color: this variety has large yellow inflorescences decorated with dazzling bright lemon stripes, and the greens are so lush that they overshadow perennials;
  • 'Orange Grenade' is about 80 cm tall and offers all shades of orange from light fruity to almost scarlet red.

The use of safflower in ornamental gardening

In the western tradition of landscape design, safflower is one of the most beloved annuals. And florists have long appreciated this unusual plant, whose talents go far beyond the oilseed and dyeing culture. Safflower and its colorful inflorescences are grown for dried and live bouquets, they are decorated with "ceremonial" compositions and introduced into gardens as original accents.

Safflower is used:

  • large groups for decorating a lawn or meadows from ground cover;
  • in classic rabatki;
  • in original borders;
  • as fiery accents on flower gardens and mixborders;
  • to fill voids where larger annuals are needed;
  • for decorating vegetable gardens and beds;
  • as a cutting plant, including for dry bouquets;
  • as a medicinal and edible plant.

Best partners for safflower: cornflower, cornflowers, oregano, calendula, snapdragon, verbena, brilliant annual sage

Conditions for safflower

Safflowers are surprisingly unpretentious both on an industrial scale and in horticulture. It is a grateful plant that can easily find a suitable place. The main thing is not to forget about the sun-loving plant. Safflower will be able to please you with flowering only in a well-lit place, does not tolerate shading, including neighborhoods with large shrubs or woody accents on flower beds. Pay attention to the fact that only warm grounds are suitable for safflower, where cold drafts will not annoy a sufficiently tall summer.

What you can hardly think about is whether the soil in your garden is suitable for this summer. After all, safflowers are surprisingly undemanding to the ground. The only thing you should be sure of is that there is no risk of stagnant water and too high groundwater. And on any soil other than damp and waterlogged, safflower will grow and bloom to your joy. The plant develops especially actively on sandy loams and loams, in drained and loose soil, delighting with very massive and prolonged flowering. However, even moist soil can be prepared for safflower by laying powerful drainage around the perimeter of the plant bed.

Safflower dye
Safflower dye

Safflower care

Caring for the cartamus will not be a burden for any gardener. After all, you can grow this plant and enjoy its flowering without much effort, taking care of only a few procedures per season.

The ease of caring for safflower is largely due to the fact that this plant does not need watering. It is a drought-resistant, hardy plant that is not afraid of even prolonged periods without rain. In fact, only the best dried flowers can match safflower in this ability.

And feeding this summer is not always needed. If you planted safflowers on fertile soil (and even more so if the soil was improved before planting), you can forget about fertilizing. But if the soil is poor or depleted, then it is better to carry out several top dressing with organic matter or full mineral mixtures per season. Safflower reacts to fertilization with more lush greenery and active, abundant flowering. It is better to apply fertilizers during the active period, before flowering or at the very beginning.

Safflower dye
Safflower dye

Cut safflower for bouquets

If you want to decorate live bouquets with safflower inflorescences, then cutting the fire heads should be carried out at the moment when the first flowers open, at the very beginning of the blooming of the inflorescence. For dry bouquets, safflower is cut later, when the inflorescences are already fully open.

In order for safflower to retain its beauty, drying must be carried out as quickly as possible, which can be problematic due to the large size of the inflorescences themselves. Shoots are dried, heads down, hanging one at a time or in mini-bundles, so as to prevent the spread of mold. To dry the safflower, it is necessary to create conditions for complete dryness and intensive ventilation.

Safflower Pest and Disease Control

Garden safflowers most often suffer from specific pests typical for this plant - safflower fly and safflower scoop. In the vicinity of infected perennials, safflowers can also suffer from rust or leaf spot. It is better to destroy the affected specimens, if infested with pests, ensure crop rotation next year, remove the topsoil in autumn, after the safflowers have already been removed from the compositions.

Safflower dye
Safflower dye

Safflower propagation

Cartamus, like other annuals, propagates only by seeds. Sowing for this plant is carried out not for seedlings, but immediately at the growing site. This is due to the fact that safflower does not tolerate transplants. You can try to achieve success with the seedling method if you sow directly into peat pots and transfer the plant to the garden with them. But even this method is risky, because the growth of safflower may still be disturbed when transferred to other conditions.

Sowing safflower seeds is best done in April-May. They are not afraid of cold snaps at night (young sprouts can withstand frosts down to -6 degrees), but the soil should warm up enough. Before sowing, it is advisable to add compost or other organic matter to the soil, carry out 2-3 digging. Sowing is carried out deeply, into grooves up to 3-5 cm. For germination, safflower needs to provide light soil moisture. Therefore, during a prolonged spring drought, it is better to lightly water. After the emergence of strong shoots, it is better to immediately thin out, leaving a distance of 15 cm between the plants. Since the safflower sprouts together, it is better to sprinkle the seeds immediately less often.

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