Mountain Knapweed - Plant, cultivate and multiply

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The mountain knapweed convinces with colorful and especially rare flowers. Because of its unpretentiousness in the location and its ease of care, it is even very suitable for garden beginners.

Mountain Knapweed - plant, cultivate and multiply

From May to August, the Mountain Knapweed (Centaurea montana) with its blue, white, pink or purple flowers has a special charm. These are in appealing contrast to the green leaves of winter hardy perennial. Not only in the garden, the mountain knapweed makes very good, but the plant is also used as follows:

  • as insect food
  • as part of bouquets
  • on bee pastures
  • in embankments
  • for pretty group planting of flowerbeds
  • as a medicinal plant (but only conditionally relevant today)

The bushy plant is visually reminiscent of a herb and can reach stature heights of 20 to around 50 centimeters as a perennial plant. In the process, the spiraling rhizome contributes to the mountain knapweed forming coherent plant stalks. Incidentally, the plant belongs to the aster family. The most beautiful is the mountain knapweed, which is also known as the cornflower and the bellflower, when planted as a group of plants.

Since this native plant is quite easy to maintain, even amateur gardeners, who are absolute newbies in this field, will be able to cope with the mountain knapweed very well. After all, the Mountain Knapweed grows wild even on farms, along the way and on landfills. In most gardens, therefore, the perfect planting conditions for this lovely plant prevail, without the gardening friends having much to pay attention to.

The appearance of the mountain knapweed

The leaves of the Mountain Knapweed are not only deciduous, but also visually reminiscent of broad lances. The leaves shimmer as foliage not only in a fresh green, but in the course of time in a silvery gray. In addition to the flower colors already mentioned, there are a few particularly striking species of mountain knapweed, such as the "Black Sprite." It has flowers in a deep black purple, which hug much in their own garden, but also as a cut flower in the vase.

Compared to many other plants in the garden, the mountain knapweed opens its flowers quite early, with the flower shape reminiscent of that of a thistle. This is not surprising, as both mountain knapweed and thistles belong to the same plant family. Incidentally, there are also mountain-flake flowers, which can even reach a stature height of up to 150 centimeters. Accordingly, this genus has a broad spectrum of plants to offer, which adapts to its own needs for visually attractive garden design.

Where does the mountain knapweed come from?

The origin region of the Mountain Knapweed are Central and Southern Europe. There, the plant was used in the past again and again as a medicinal plant. In Finland, however, the shrub plant adorns many traditional perennial gardens. Not only with the help of seeds, but also through their roots and as a cultivated plant, the distribution of the mountain knapweed could be specifically promoted. It is compatible with the following planting partners and can therefore be planted together with them:

  • asters
  • Meadow Brown
  • Nachtviole
  • Wort, Hypericum perforatum
  • lupins
  • lady's mantle
  • white yarrow
  • Dried flowers

Whether in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Poland, Switzerland, the Balkan Peninsula, Slovakia or Slovenia, this aster-like daisy family is widespread in these areas and thus optimally adapted to the local climatic conditions. Even at heights of up to 2,200 meters, the mountain knapweed flourishes magnificently. In Germany, the plant is the most widely used both in the north and in the east of Bavaria. Regionally, the plant is also known by these trivial names:

  • Bismachütz
  • Forest cornflower
  • Waldhühnlein
  • Trommaschligel

Meanwhile, the Mountain Knapweed even belongs to the protected species. Incidentally, there are more than 500 other species belonging to this genus of plants. It is clear from the appearance of the mountain knapweed that it is also related to the following plants:

  • Herbstaster
  • American arnica
  • yarrow
  • gold sheaf
  • chrysanthemums
  • gold Cup
  • Big-flowered girl eye
  • Chicory
  • Coreopsis
  • Red sun hat
  • Ball and noble thistle
  • Blanket
  • Japanese aster
  • Sneezeweed
  • hawkweed
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Sonnenauge
  • Garden daisy
  • Sword Elecampane
  • Liatris
  • Gorgeous sun hat
  • Japanese gold cob
  • Big telekie
  • Cornflower Aster

Plant the mountain knapweed in your own garden

Blossom of the mountain Knapweed

All hobby gardeners can sow the mountain knapweed on request between March and April in their cold frames. However, when the mountain knapweed is planted as a container plant, this is possible at any time during the warmer seasons, in principle.If the right location for the plant has been selected, it grows without problems.

As a group, up to ten mountain flake flowers can be planted on a surface of just over one square meter. An excessively large planting distance therefore does not have to be adhered to. In addition, all hobby gardeners should be aware that the Mountain Knapweed tends to leach out over time. If this is to be prevented, a corresponding pruning must take place in good time.

The ideal location for the mountain knapweed

The perfect location for the mountain knapweed is sunny to partially shaded, with the plant prefers a dry to fresh and sandy to loamy soil. This may be weakly acidic or slightly alkaline. Even calcareous soils tolerate the mountain knapweed without problems. However, it requires a nutrient-rich soil, so that the plant feels well all around. The soil should also be rich in humus when the mountain knapweed should look like a garden in the following style:

  • flower garden
  • cottage garden
  • forest garden
  • natural garden

If the mountain knapweed is sunny, the soil may like to be a little bit damp. On the other hand, the plant does not like a compacted or stunned soil at all and can not do so in such site conditions.

The care of the mountain knapweed

The Mountain Knapweed is a very easy to maintain plant. It is completely sufficient if the hobby gardeners simply cut off all the shredded parts of the plant. This helps to make more flowers even faster. If you want to cut off the flower for the vase, you can do likewise and admire the beautiful flower decoration outside and inside. Even then the flowers grow very well. This will take about four weeks. By pruning the plant at the same time, it can be ensured that it does not self-sow and can thus unintentionally spread in the garden.

A pruning of the leaves of mountain knapweed is conceivable in autumn, but not a must. After all, the plant is very happy when it can move its leaves on its own. This process eventually helps to regain some of the contents and nutrients from the leaves from the roots. In the spring, the Mountain Knapweed can then start particularly powerful thanks to these reserves.

The mountain knapweed needs little, if any, fertilizer. Compost is a very good choice for the mountain knapweed as an organic fertilizer. It is quite sufficient if the plant is fertilized once in the early spring and once in the fall. Then it is usually supplied with enough nutrients. As an alternative to compost, a long-term flowering fertilizer can also be used. Ideally, this fertilizer contains a relatively high proportion of phosphorus, as this promotes the formation of new flowers. Also about pond water for irrigation and for simultaneous fertilization, the plant is pleased.

To multiply the mountain knapweed

Both by sowing as well as by the division of an existing mountain knapweed, the plant can be easily increased. If the rootstock of the plant is to be divided for propagation, ideally this should be done in autumn or early spring. By distributing their seeds in the garden, the mountain knapweed also reproduces itself.

Preparing the mountain knapweed for the winter

As already mentioned, the Mountain Knapweed has adapted perfectly to the local temperature and environmental conditions. After all, the knapweed also grows at an altitude of 2,000 and more meters, on which in winter sometimes icy temperatures can prevail. Therefore, the flower does not need a winter protection, as it is considered to be fully hardy and will bloom again next year.

The mountain knapweed as a medicinal herb

In folk medicine, the mountain knapweed was used in the past, especially in the past in a wide variety of application areas. Whether as a laxative, for loss of appetite or for eye inflammation, the Mountain Knapweed was used very versatile as a remedy. The following list shows further uses for the herb:

  • in a sluggish gut
  • in inflammation
  • for the care of the skin
  • as a tonic
  • in case of problems with digestion (such as constipation)
  • in dropsy

Although the Mountain Knapweed has been used in the past mainly as a digestive agent due to its laxative, astringent and appetite-promoting effect, the plant is said to have other properties that are just as relevant to medicine. These characteristic features of the Mountain Knapweed are as follows:

  • diuretic
  • menstruation promoting
  • hustenstillend
  • anti-inflammatory

Incidentally, to be able to enjoy the healing effect of the mountain knapweed, it must not simply be picked wild. Because in its natural distribution, the plant has become very rare, which is why the mountain knapweed is accordingly under protection of species. However, those who want to cultivate the knapweed in their own garden because of their promised healing powers can do so without any problems.The formerly popular herb was displaced in modern herbal medicine anyway by many other plants as a former medicinal plant and is now hardly more important.

Pests and diseases of mountain knapweed

Downy mildew is a problem for the mountain knapweed, especially when it rains more or less over a longer period of time. However, there are ways and means to prevent this at an early stage. It is best to stir a tea from the leaves of the field horsetail. This brew contains silicic acid, which not only stabilizes but also has a strengthening effect on the flake petals.

However, if it has already come to an infestation with mildew, we recommend the use of special bio-sprays, which are easy to get in the specialized trade. In addition, it makes sense if the affected plants are cut to their base. This gives the mountain knapweed the opportunity to exorcise and to shine again with their healthy flowers and leaves in their full glory. The infestation with rust and aphids is occasionally possible with bluebells, in which case the usual pesticides should be used. In the specialized trade the mountain knapweed is offered even in a screw-proof variant.

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