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Originally from Canary Islands the Cineraria is also known by the name of Senecio which is the genus to which it belongs as it is also part of the family of Asteraceae. It lends itself to many uses and is rather adaptable to the environment in which it is found, it is grown as an annual. Let's go and discover its shapes and the many varieties that we can meet today, not easy to associate because they are very different from each other, even in height and posture.
Among the numerous varieties of this plant, we find the Maritima and the Cruenta. The first is widespread and appreciated because it can be grown both in the garden, in the ground, and in pots to be placed even on the balcony. It has a bushy habit which makes it a very suitable plant for ornamental purposes. Even its foliage is particular because it is made up of many leaves of modest size that show off a silvery-white color so resulting due to the presence of a slight hair that covers them.
Cineraria maritima looks like a succulent and is widely used for beautify gardens and terraces but it makes its beautiful scene even when it spontaneously covers the Tyrrhenian coasts where it creates suggestive reflections also thanks to the sea wind. The most widespread variety, however, is that of Bloody cineraria. Much appreciated is the blue color of its flowering which can however also be light blue or pink. the most common variety, whose blooms take on shades of blue, pink and light blue.
There are many very different Cineraria hybrids, created to enhance its scenic and ornamental characteristics, including the Grandiflora, the Multiflora nana and the Stellata characterized by its star-shaped flower heads. Among the different hybridizations there are also differences in size and we can find dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties, the ones actually more suitable to be grown in pots. Even so small they keep the jagged and loin leaves typical but that in spring become invisible because the plant fills them with small and colorful flowers.
The Cineraria and all the plants that belong to its same family are very widespread plants almost all over the world, even in areas with very different climates. The genus is Senecio, we find species there annual, biennial, perennial, herbaceous, climbing, shrubby, succulent and small trees.
The leaves of this plain have an elongated and loin shape, if they sprout towards the end of the stem they have dimensions that gradually reduce. In spring, at the moment of flowering, they almost disappear, because the Cineraria is filled with flowers in a truly abundant and generous way. There are also cases in which the inflorescences are two-colored but in principle we find those monochrome, golden yellow, purple, light blue, red, pink and particularly vivid purples.
If we want to grow this plant in the open ground, in our garden, it is better to choose the most suitable variety, that is Seneciio Cruentus. Like the other varieties, this one also needs to stay in the light but does not tolerate being hit by the sun's rays in a too direct way as it does not tolerate too hot. On the contrary, in summer it appreciates the days when the climate remains cool and a little airy.
To plant the Cineraria in our garden we must wait for the spring season by choosing well-drained and fertile soils. If we live in an area where temperatures are low and there is a risk of frost, it is better to make a passage in the greenhouse before placing the seedlings in the ground and risk compromising their development permanently. In all seasons watering must be regular but without exaggerating. As for pruning, they are mainly used for varieties that have a bushy or shrubby bearing, also for an aesthetic reason: to give them a decorative shape.
Cineraria in vase
If we want grow this plant in pot, to place it on the terrace, we can try even if we are at the first experience, because it is not too difficult, even for green thumbs in the grass.
Let's give the Cineraria a lot of light and shelter it from too direct sun rays, don't leave it near direct heat sources and icy currents. Her ideal temperature is above 8 degrees, it still resists the cold if it doesn't last too many days.
It is very important to avoid water stagnation, so be careful to wet this potted plant, let's do it only when the soil is dry. The soil must therefore be very well drained, for example it could be a mixture of fertile peat and sand substrates. There flowering occurs between April and May while the multiplication takes place by seeds and by cutting.
Let's go back to talking about Maritima variety because it is the one with the greatest properties, so much so that it is considered a medicinal plant. Has soothing, decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in ophthalmology for the preparation of eye drops for the treatment of many eye diseases. We also find Maritima in homeopathy, again for eye problems such as conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, eyestrain and hypersensitivity.
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