Plant and maintain Dittany (Burning Bush) properly


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The Diptam is a rarity in the home garden. He places special demands on the location and soil. Planting and care tips can be found here.

Flowers from the Diptam

Hand on the heart, who is not impressed by the magic of wild plants on the edge of the field or the edge of the forest? And who would not have such an exclusive plant in his own garden? It's easy to dig it out and put it into practice, that's definitely not possible. After all, flowering plants in the wild are under protection.

Such a rarity is also the Diptam (Dictamnus albus). Occasionally you may encounter these perennial plants on dry meadows or along dry forest edges during summer walks. But you can also enjoy it in your own garden. Staudengärtner have long been cultivating this unusual plant for the hobby garden (see shop).

What makes the Diptam so special?

With a stature height of 80 to 120 centimeters, the plant produces strong stems, on which umbelliferous pale pink flowers unfold from late May to July. The Diptam spreads an intense scent of lemon and vanilla.

The essential oils of the plant can be ejected so vigorously in hot and humid weather that ignite the flower itself at the bottom and flare up briefly bluish. You can happily observe this phenomenon at dusk. The Diptam therefore also has the apt name "Burning Bush". However, the perennial does not harm the inflaming.

But beware: all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Diptam effect as a medicinal plant not proven
Previously, the Diptam, because of its variety of essential oils, was considered a medicinal plant. However, the effect as a medicinal plant could never be positively proven. On the contrary, the toxic substances of the plant in combination with sunlight cause severe skin irritation. Contact should therefore be avoided as much as possible.

Diptam - Burning bush

What should you watch out for when planting the Diptam

Similar to peonies, you plant the Diptam on a spot in the garden, where it gets a lot of sun and can grow undisturbed for many years. When the root has formed well, the Burning Bush thanks lush flower spikes from May to July. But it can take at least two to three years before this happens. You should therefore be patient.

You can plant the Diptam from spring to fall. The distance between the young plants should be at least 50 centimeters. Ultimately, they only pour lightly.

Preferred locations
Choose for the Diptam sunny to partially shaded locations, for example, on open spaces, at woody edges or in prairie garden. The rare perennial prefers a water-permeable, rather dry soil. In addition, it should be calcareous (ph value between 8 and 10) and low in nutrients.

Adjust ground conditions
The Dittany shrub is sensitive to changing soil conditions. It is therefore advisable that you adjust the garden soil to the substrate in the pot before planting young perennials.
If you have a damp garden soil, drain or mix the soil with sand.

Care without much effort

The burning bush, as the perennial is also called, is very frugal and makes little demands on the care.

Pour sparingly and fertilize
Since the plant thrives well on barren, dry soil, it only needs to be watered during prolonged periods of heat and dry. In doing so, add the water directly to the root area. Flowers and leaves should not be wetted with.

You can fertilize the Diptam in spring with compost. Further nutritional inputs are not necessary

It is cut in early spring
Uncomplicated is the cut of the burning bush. Only before the renewal in spring, cut the perennial down to about 20 centimeters. Only sick shoots cut out of the ground. The cut during growth is taboo, as the dittany does not tolerate it.

Protection of diseases and pests
If the location and soil conditions are right, diseases and pests of the plant can hardly harm them. If there is a danger then it is more like slugs. In the spring, they are especially attracted to the young plants and can cause great damage.

Therefore: Protect the young Diptam with a snail collar or snail fence from nudibranchs! It is advisable to check the protective fence once a day, if not yet one of the slimy herbivores has overcome the snail barrier.

Summary: Diptam is a plant that prefers a sunny and dry location. He loves a well-drained and calcareous soil. Before planting, you must balance the soil with the substrate of the young plant in the pot. Water the Diptam only during prolonged periods of drought.

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