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Man litter is an undemanding, decorative ornamental plant for Mediterranean herbaceous borders or natural gardens. Rearing and care are explained here in detail.
Hobby gardeners don't like thistles in the garden at all. Ornamental perennials similar to thistle, such as the man litter (Eryngium) are without exception an exception. In company with other flowering perennials, the man litter visually enhances every discount. The shrubby growth and the simple umbels, which form head-shaped inflorescences and are usually surrounded by bizarre bracts, give the perennial border a special attraction.
Man litter has many “faces”
26 species of man litter thrive here in Europe. Each one differs in the color and shape of the flowers. Depending on the type, man litter can also grow to heights of 30 to 120 centimeters. The amethyst and alpine man litter and the Spanish noble thistle are mainly used in the ornamental garden in this country. This perennial crop blooms from August to September. Once dried, the powerful inflorescences can be used for attractive dry arrangements.
This is how the location for the man litter should look
Man litter prefers a full sun location. A partially shaded spot is also accepted. The plants should get at least four hours of sun a day. Place the crop so that it is protected from the wind.
Avoid damp floors. Man litter generally does not tolerate waterlogging. You can mix heavy soils with grit or coarse sand, making the space more permeable for the plants. The crop also tolerates calcareous and stony soils.
This is how man litter is properly planted
If you decide to sow, it is advisable to do this in a loose, sandy soil at temperatures around 20 ° C. From September, however, you should no longer sow seeds. It is best to sow the thistle in seed pots before mid-August. This means that the plants can be planted outdoors in late autumn.
❍ Plant seedlings:
Young plants from the garden shop or online delivery are planted in the spring after purchase. Before that, you dig the earth conventionally. Then the young plant is placed in a shallow hole so that the base of the plant is flush with its roots on the surface of the soil.
You should estimate about 6 to 8 plants per square meter. Choose a distance of 30 to 40 centimeters between the seedlings.
How to properly care for man litter
After planting, you should water the young plants regularly for the first few weeks. Later they are not watered as often. The man loyal can easily survive short dry spells. It thrives excellently if you let the surface dry a bit. The floor must not only dry out.
Fertilize your thistle-like ornamental plant with an organic perennial fertilizer the first year after planting. It is sufficient if you add fertilizer every 2 to 3 years. Do not use compost to fertilize, because the man litter cannot take it.
Cut out withered flowers. This is how you prevent the litter from spreading itself out. Basically, you should cut back the crop after flowering from mid-September, otherwise the ornamental thistle will lose its winter hardiness.
Provided the soil is deeply permeable and there is no risk of waterlogging in winter, the frost cannot harm the man litter. However, winter coverage is recommended for better development in the following year. Brushwood and garden fleece are very suitable for this.
Possible pests and diseases
With its thorny leaves, eryngium keeps plant pests away. Pest infestation is therefore not to be feared. In addition, the crop is essentially resistant to diseases. Only waterlogging can lead to root rot.
The man litter is a robust, easy-care and hardy ornamental plant and is suitable for Mediterranean perennial discounts or for the natural garden. A sunny, sheltered place is preferred as the location. The soil should be permeable to water. Calcareous and stony soil is also accepted. You should water only moderately. It is fertilized with an organic perennial fertilizer. The plant does not tolerate compost.