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Dorotheanthus - A Crystal Summerberry With Bashful Daisies

, Admin

There are quite a few plants among garden annuals that can boast beautiful, eye-catching basket-like inflorescences. But only one crop - doroteanthus - surprisingly combines "daisies" with groundcover abilities. The beautiful, climbing bushes of doroteanthus, decorated with very graceful and large inflorescences, scream originality at first glance. Add to this belonging to succulents, amazing "draping" abilities, unusual crystalline shine of greenery and sun-dependence, thanks to which the flowers close in cloudy weather -and one of the most unusual summer plants will seem a real exot. And even the capriciousness to conditions does not detract from its beauty.

Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus (Dorotheanthus). © Pascal Kestemont

Unusual Succulent Ground Cover

Doroteantus are cultures unusual in everything. And their form of growth is atypical for succulents, and the height of creeping shoots as if arguing with the baskets of inflorescences. But all these "incompatible" qualities only strengthen the charm of this summerhouse. It really differs from both the most outlandish and classic summer abundant-flowering crops. Due to special formations on its leaves and petals - papillae resembling crystals, doroteanthus sparkles in the sun as if diamond dust was scattered all over it. Because of its unusual shinning it was nicknamed the crystal grass.

Doroteanthus will not exceed 10-15 cm in height. These climbing succulents-groundcovers produce succulent shoots and dense, linear or spatula-shaped leaves that create an unusual "mat" texture. The foliage of doroteanthus is covered with papillae. Dense, lush bushes with richly colored greenery beautifully accentuate the beauty of the flowers. Externally, the basket-like inflorescences are reminiscent of non-flowering garden daisies and niviads. The unique ability of doroteanthus to close at night and in cloudy weather is not found in any other "chamomile" plant among both summer and perennials. Each flower stays on the plant for about 10 days.

The Dorotheanthus blooms tirelessly from midsummer to the autumn frosts. Their color palette includes white, pink, red and yellow spectra, all in watercolor, becoming more intensive at the apices of lingual flowers.

Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus. © Maria Klang

There are over 20 species of Dorotheanthus, but only 3 species are used as ornamental:

  1. Dorotheanthus daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis) is a creeping annual of only about 10 cm in height. The obovate, curved succulent leaves reach 7-8 cm in length. Flower-boxes up to 4 cm in diameter open on tall peduncles, sporting an almost black midpoint and very showy, bright colors - apricot, orange, yellow, red, lilac, etc. This doroteanthus adores sandy soils and can outshine any neighbors in sunny weather.
  2. Dorotheanthus petalless (Dorotheanthus apetalus), formerly known as Dorotheanthus cereal-like (Dorotheanthus gramineus) is an annual also limited to 10 cm tall, but distinguished by more dense branching and reddish colored shoots that create very dense cushions. The linear, sessile leaves only emphasize the dense crown, and the flowers, with their dark carmine center and glossy pink or white coloration, attract attention with their more dense arrangement of lingual flowers and convex center.
  3. A very rare species Dorotheanthus oculatus (Dorotheanthus oculatus). This annual appears to be even more inferior. Its lanceolate leaves, up to 4 cm long, and the four-centimeter golden, red-stained baskets of inflorescences sitting on short peduncles are very striking, but not as striking as those of Dorotheanthus daisy-like.

In landscape design, doroteanthus is used:

  • as a border crop;
  • to fill voids and gaps, in particular, free areas of soil left from bulbs and spring compositions;
  • by large spots in the background of lawns;
  • to create colorful spots in the front background of rainbows, mixborders and flower beds;
  • to plant slopes, supporting walls;
  • for decorating with beautiful flowering spots on the southern sides of stony slides;
  • as a temporary filler for future flower beds, at the initial stage of garden planting;
  • as a potted plant;
  • in flower beds of summer homes, including as a filler between crops with not enough lush greenery.
Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis). © grassrootsgroundswell
Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus petalless, or Dorotheanthus cerealis (Dorotheanthus apetalus). © Martin Pavlista
Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus oculatus. © Universität Göttingen

Dorotheanthus can also be grown in room culture. It will do well in wide but shallow containers, in soil for succulents, provided a high layer of drainage is laid. However, grow doroteantusy will only be able to the southern window, under the condition of overwintering at a temperature of about 10-12 degrees. Plant care is simple:

  • quiet watering without overwatering;
  • sprinkling in summer;
  • feeding from May to September with mixtures for ornamental and flowering crops (the standard dose should be reduced by half).

conditions necessary for doroteantus

Like most of the annuals, doroteantus prefer to grow in warm, sunny locations. Even light shade is not acceptable for roadside plants as it will have a negative effect on the amount of flowers and will greatly reduce the number of released baskets. But doroteanthus are not afraid even of the hottest southern locations, including the slopes of alpine slopes and retaining walls.

But even with an ideal choice of light and soil be prepared for failure: If the summer is wet and cold, doroteanthus can bloom very weakly and will resemble a pale shadow of themselves. Such weather dependence of the annual is probably its only significant disadvantage. But in successful years few garden crops can compare with this tiny flower.

Selection of soil for doroteanthus and should be carried out by special criteria. This annual, despite its lush blooms, likes poor, loose, sandy soil. Sandy soil or at least sandy loam is best for the plant. When planting in ordinary garden soil, make sure that it is air- and water-permeable, low to medium fertility and light texture (it is advisable to lay a strong drainage at the bottom of the holes). Dorotheanthus absolutely do not tolerate dampness and excessive moisture in any form, even if such a phenomenon - purely temporary. Therefore, it is better to plant plants under a slope or on an elevation.

Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis). © Duncan Wilson

Planting Dorotheanthus

These annuals should be moved into the garden as late as possible, as soon as the weather is steadily warm and the spring frost has passed. They are afraid of even light return frosts, so planting is carried out not earlier than the end of May or even in June. It is because of late planting that the Dorotheanthus blooms only in midsummer. The optimum distance to adjacent plants is about 20 cm. When planting doroteanthus, it is very important not to destroy the ground lump, carry the plant without unnecessary injury to the rhizome.

But the most important nuance when planting doroteanthus - mulching. The plant does not like overwatering not only in terms of general soil characteristics, but also in terms of contact of leaves and shoots with wet soil. The whole area under Dorotheanthus should be covered with mulch, preferably in the form of stone chips, pebbles, decorative filling, to completely exclude the probability of contact of shoots and greenery with the soil.

Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus petalless, or Dorotheanthus apetalus. © M Hector

Care for Dorotheanthus

The charming summerberry needs neither watering nor feeding. Only on the hottest days can additional watering be done, provided that natural rainfall is insufficient.

If you do not want your Dorotheanthus to stop flowering when the first autumn frosts arrive, cover the Dorotheanthus bushes from above with fleece or film when the first threat of temperatures dropping to 0 at night appears. Once the warm weather has returned to the shade, you can then enjoy more blooms in the garden.
Pest and disease control

It is not only the fear of contact with water that complicates the care of doroteanthus. This lettuce is quite often affected by fungal diseases if the conditions of cultivation and abundant watering are violated. The problems should be combated by removing the affected parts with parallel spraying of the plantings with fungicides.

Dorotheanthus - a crystal summerberry with bashful daisies
Dorotheanthus oculatus (Dorotheanthus oculatus). © M Hector

Propagation of Dorotheanthus

Like virtually all garden annuals, Dorotheanthus propagates only by seed. Indoor doroteanthus can be cuttings, but only the classic method is suitable for growing outdoors. Seeds are sown in March or April, with a temperature of at least 18 degrees, cover with film or glass and good light is sufficient for the emergence of seedlings. Seedlings are very sensitive to moisture, water them from below, very carefully, so as not to lead to rotting of sprouts.

Pipping is carried out as soon as a couple of true leaves appear. As doroteanthus is afraid of root injury and transplanting, it is better to pick plants in peat pots. From April, it is desirable to harden the seedlings or move them to a greenhouse. The capricious South African summerberry can be moved into the soil only after the return frosts have completely disappeared.

Sometimes the method of sowing into the soil in May-early June is used, but in this case doroteanthus will flower very late, only before autumn and cannot fulfill the role of "drapery of voids".