Cultivating Acacia and Acanthus Successfully

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Acacia are mainly known as greenhouse evergreen flowering shrubs, a greenhouse being necessary in northern European areas.

Some species of the genus Acacia attain the dimensions of moderate trees and are only suitable for large conservatories. The dwarfer kinds, however, make splendid pot plants for spring and early summer flowering.

In terms of their cultivation Acacias are amongst the most simply managed of hard-wooded greenhouse plants and will thrive in a winter temperature of 45 degrees to 50 degrees. Repotting must be undertaken during the summer months every third or fourth year, using a compost of equal parts turfy loam and horticultural peat, together with sufficient sharp sand to ensure porosity. The soil must be firmly rammed with a wooden potting stick, but over-potting is to be avoided. On no account must the plants be allowed to suffer from lack of moisture at the roots. All of them are copious drinkers, and large specimens in tub pots or planted out in the greenhouse border must have frequent soakings.

Pruning, which should take place immediately after flowering, consists of judicious thinning and shortening back of loose growths. From early June to October pot specimens should be plunged in an ash bed situated in a sunny corner out of doors to ripen off.

To propagate Acasias seeds sown as soon as ripe in pans of sandy peat offer an easy means of increase and will germinate rapidly in a close temperature of 60 degrees. Cuttings can also be made during spring from the tips of the shoots about 3 inches in length. In a propagating box where a temperature of 60 degrees to 65 degrees can be maintained they will root in six to eight weeks, when they can be transferred to 3 inch. pots. Half-ripened shoots taken with a heel will also root readily in pots of sandy peat in a shady cold frame.

In contrast the Acanthuses are hardy herbaceous perennials with ornamental foliage.

It is generally supposed that the handsome leaves of Acanthus mollis inspired the ancient Greeks when designing the capitals of the famous Corinthian columns. The foliage is seen at its finest development in the variety known as latifolius.

Acanthuses will grow in any ordinary garden soil and do not object to partial shade, though they will also thrive in full sun. On poor, sandy or stony ground the foliage will not be so well developed or so handsome as when the plants are established in deep, rich, and somewhat moist loam.

The foliage may be further improved by feeding the plants with weak liquid manure from time to time or giving them a mulch of well-rotted manure in early summer. The best months for planting are October, March, or early April. The plants should always be given ample space so that their foliage may be fully developed. Unlike many perennials, acanthuses do not require transplanting and dividing every second or third year. They should be left to grow unhindered when established.

Division at planting time affords the simplest method of increase, though seeds germinate quite freely if sown in a warm greenhouse in March or a cold frame in early April.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: Ian SG Smith
Ian is very keen on gardening and writes occasional articles, but thinks you might be interested in his new website www.dualit3slicetoaster.com

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