Fescue and features of their cultivation
Charming fescue with their dense and dense, very neat and always elegant looking curtains-spheres of narrow needle-shaped leaves, despite their rather compact size and not too spectacular flowering, today are considered almost the most popular representative of garden cereals. These herbs conquer with an unusual texture, ideal shapes, richness of bluish colors and universal talents. They can be used not only in landscape compositions and flower beds, but also in the driest and most difficult conditions, as a border plant, for decorating rock gardens, rockeries, front gardens, mixborders, carpet beds, pots and containers. Always and everywhere they look fashionable and spectacular.
Types of Fescue
The most popular of all representatives of the festuca family is today gray fescueor fescue Kale. The unique steel color of the leaves, cold and somewhat metallic, glorified this low grass as one of the most spectacular and fashionable plants. Reaching a height of only 30-60 cm, the blue fescue forms a very lush, dense and almost perfectly spherical bush of linear, narrow and rigid leaves. The gray panicles that bloom above them on straight peduncles are soft, delicate and generally inconspicuous, only emphasize the spherical shape of the curtains.
The blue fescue will bring revitalization and harmony to any composition on the site. It adds perfect forms, the effect of radiance, brings texture and harmony even to the driest and most unfavorable places in the garden. The blue fescue itself has a lot of different varieties, both higher and compact, with various shades of blue, white, azure and silver color. But among fescue there are other spectacular species that can boast of textures no less spectacular.
Inflorescences panicles, which seem to be transparent lace or drops soar over long narrow leaves sticking out in all directions are characteristic of whiskers. Its greenery brings unusual textures, and the turfs seem voluminous and transparent at the same time. This fescue is considered the best partner for other species, because it is more airy and contrasts beautifully with classic dense cereals.
Ideal spheres are similar and very thick, large, reaching up to 80 cm in height, curtain balls Maira Fescue (Mayeri). This species is distinguished not so much by the dark, grayish color of the leaves, but by their amazing grace. Tall and thin, they create dense cascading spheres, ideally distributed in the turf and form an impeccable silhouette. The panicles are thin, but very elegant, like all other fescue, but the main advantage of this species is still the shape of the bush.
Thicker hemispheres creates glacial fescue, but it can only be used in rock gardens. Dense hemispheres from thicker leaves up to 30 cm high seem unusually stiff and almost prickly.
A completely different character - Siberian fescue. It forms dense sods, the height of which always exceeds the diameter. The bright color of the young, as if the leaves were striving up, is effectively emphasized by the brown or gray color of the dry, old, arched drooping foliage at the base of the bush, which creates the effect of a two-color color. High peduncles seem to continue the lines of leaves and are characterized by amazing weightlessness, crowned with panicles shining in the sun.
In many ways similar to Siberian fescue or fescue, but it does not retain the shape of an elongated and narrow, dense bush, because this plant likes to grow and occupy new territories thanks to almost uncontrolled self-seeding.
The large blue fescue is ranked and amethyst fescue. It forms rather loose, slightly sloppy sods of almost round, needle-shaped leaves up to 60 cm in length. Young, brighter and already drying leaves remain on the bush at the same time, which creates the effect of different colors of greenery in one curtain. This is an evergreen plant that changes color depending on weather and conditions, gradually increases the density and size of the curtain, is constantly expanding, sometimes reaching 1 m in diameter, but always keeps a spherical shape. It can be used only in the foreground, against a background of stunted plants or lawns, where a beautiful silhouette will be visible and the fescue will not face the risk of stagnation of water or the slightest shading.
Among undersized fescue it is worth paying attention to:
- forest fescue - a very elegant plant that forms small curtains, similar to a kind of dense pillows, above which branched panicles of gray-metal small flowers rise spectacularly from the beginning of summer until the first frost comes;
- modest in size but extremely spectacular fescue sheep, which forms a peculiar lawn of loose round bumps, is decorated with so densely arranged, bristle-like greens that peduncles curving in arcs with elongated almost white panicles seem almost unearthly;
- panicle fescuecreating even denser, lower coverage, seeming to be an artificial pillow, gradually capturing large areas and as if covering them with thick green moss up to 8 cm high with peduncles too tall for such a plant in the form of panicles made of small dew drops;
- it is worth paying attention to prickly fescuewhose silvery thin foliage creates an elegant, resilient and very dense rug about 15 cm high, which always seems more artificial than real.
Growing conditions comfortable for fescue
These representatives of an extensive family of ornamental cereals belong to the most sun-loving species. In order to succeed in growing fescue, it is necessary to select the warmest, preferably even the hottest, dry and sunny areas in the garden. Fescue is not afraid of even the most intensely lit southern sides of the rock garden or rockery, perfectly copes with the July heat and is not afraid of the highest temperatures. They do not tolerate cold drafts and areas with even medium partial shade too well, so it is better not to try to grow these plants without adequate lighting. In particular, in the shading of fescue completely lose the ability to show their gray colors.
Fescue soils are undemanding. They can grow in completely dry, moderately dry or well-drained standard garden soils. The key parameter for them is the absence of the slightest risk of moisture stagnation, loose, light, and better - loose texture, high-quality drainage, air and water permeability. Fescue do not like nutritious soils. They effectively grow and delight with the beauty of greenery only on the ground, which contains a minimum amount of humus and nutrients. It is believed that the most beautiful “balls” of fescue form rock gardens and rockeries on dry stony soil.
Almost all types of fescue are completely cold-resistant, are not afraid of the conditions of harsh winters and do not need protection. When buying fescue, try to choose varieties and species that are already acclimatized to the conditions of your area. Among fescue there is a large spread in the degree of winter hardiness, which primarily depends on where exactly the plant passed its selection. Buying plants grown in local nurseries or private gardens, you guarantee yourself that fescue will not surprise you with low frost resistance.
The main drawback of all fescue is the rather rapid degeneration of curtains. 2-3 years after planting, the center of the turf begins to gradually die off in the plant, and accordingly, to maintain decorativeness, it is necessary to constantly rejuvenate and separate them. But on the other hand, fescue plants grow amazingly fast, grow well not in height but in width, and, as a rule, achieve spectacularity in the first year of cultivation.
Care required for fescue
When fescue is considered one of the easiest horticultural crops to grow, they primarily mean, of course, the modesty of requirements for conditions and soil. But caring for fescue cannot be called anything other than minimal. In fact, it comes down to the regular separation and transplantation of these plants.
The rest of the care for fescue consists of only:
- cleaning the bushes from dry foliage in early spring, which can be done both manually and in the form of combing with a rake thanks to sufficiently dense and hard leaves;
- pruning panicles of inflorescences at the level of leaves after the end of the flowering period.
Reproduction of fescue
Fescue is propagated mainly by vegetative methods. This plant is easiest to divide in early spring, during the rejuvenation of old curtains, separating several small parts of the turf and discarding the dry center.
Also often used is the method of obtaining stronger delenki from the mother plant, which is transferred to pots for the winter and kept in cold temperatures, but in good light. Uterine bushes, divided already in early spring, make it possible to obtain stronger and more decorative plants in the first year after planting.
You can propagate fescue and seed. At the same time, it is not necessary to grow them through seedlings, because, as a rule, these plants give abundant self-sowing and to get a new planting material, it is enough to simply dig out young sprouts that appeared in the next season.