Coloring thistle - planting, cultivating and multiplying


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The safflower in the home garden impresses with its filigree, orange flowers. We will explain how to grow and maintain this plant.

Inflorescence of the safflower

The safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), like the sunflower, is appreciated by gardeners for its bright petals. By the way: both plants have a lot in common. From their seeds, valuable edible oil is extracted. Thus, they are very popular for the food industry and are widely cultivated in agriculture.

Whether in the cottage garden, natural garden or in the ornamental garden, the thistle is in any case to advantage.

The safflower in portrait

The Carthamus tinctorius was used as a dye plant in ancient Egypt more than 5,000 years ago. Mummy screens and other fabrics were dyed red with it. The natural range extends from the Middle East to Central Europe.

The safflower is a thistle-like, fast-growing, herbaceous plant. The one to two year old plant grows upright. Their stems can reach a height of 70 to 130 centimeters. Along the stalk elongated, thorny leaves grow.

From June to July, the thistle flowers in a rich orange. In September / October, the seeds then matured.

Tip: The inflorescences are suitable as cut flowers for the vase or for decorative arrangements. You can also use thornless varieties if you want to plant dyer thistles as ornamental plants or cut flowers.

A sunny, warm location is preferred

If you want to grow this attractive thistle in your garden, then you should definitely choose a sunny and warm location.

The soil should be permeable
In order for your Carthamus tinctorius to thrive and develop a dazzling floral splendor, sow the plant in loamy-sandy soil. The soil should also be neutral and well-drained, so that no waterlogging can form. Dry lean soils are not suitable for cultivation.

This is how you sow the safflower

  • For sowing, the seedbed for the safflower should be loosened up. So the development of young plants is favored.
  • Place the seeds within the row 5 cm apart. The sowing depth should be 2 to 3 centimeters. For a group of plants, it is advisable to choose a row spacing of 20 centimeters.
  • Now patience is required: the germination period is at least two to three weeks.

Keep the soil moderately moist, compost covers the nutrient requirement

  1. Once the seed has risen, you should ensure that the soil is kept moist regularly. The plant grows with moderate watering as it develops a strong tap root and can absorb moisture from the deeper soil layers. During flowering care should be taken not to wet the filigree flowers with water. On wet, they are very sensitive.
  2. If you have incorporated compost into the soil during soil preparation, then no further fertilization is necessary. You can, however, give your safflower additional minerals in the form of Thomaskali or Patentkali. This causes your plants to develop a tough and robust plant scaffold.

Cutting to the flower and seed harvest
A usual pruning, such as perennials, is not made in the Carthamus tinctorius. Only for harvest you can work with the secateurs the plant. The flowers are separated, which are harvested as German saffron or fake saffron. Dried and grated in a mortar, you can use the flowers to color food and drinks. Another cut is planned for the seed harvest in September / October. This way you will gain new seeds for the next year and you will prevent the plant from spreading out.

Since these thistle seeds tolerate temperatures down to -10° C, thistle thistle could grow in unwanted areas in the garden the following year.

Conclusion: The safflower is an undemanding but attractive plant. Her filigree orange flowers are in the garden to advantage. It prefers a sunny location as well as a lemig-sandy and well-drained soil. The plant is only moderately watered. The plant makes no great demands on the need for nutrients.

Video Board: Andrew Lessman on the Monday Night Show - 4/16/18.

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