Perennial, robust, hardy and long-flowering - these are just a few of the positive properties that make the Macedonian widow flower a real hit among hobby gardeners.
The Macedonian widow flower (Knautia macedonica) is a very flowery herbaceous species, which with its balloon-shaped red flowers not only captivates in every garden because of its beauty. It is just as popular with insects as it is with hobby gardeners and blooms in bright red throughout the summer. It is an important nutrient for bees and butterflies, and birds and rodents sometimes use the plant when they are looking for food. The Macedonian widow flower must not be missing in a butterfly garden.
The beauty of the Macedonian widow flower is, besides the fact that it blooms extremely long, the fact that despite all its cultivation it has kept its wildflower status a good deal. You can see this from a distance of the idiosyncratic beauty, which is ideal for stone beds as well as for cottage gardens or Mediterranean garden areas as well as for the classic bed.
The fact that they can also be combined very well with plants such as grasses, stonecrops, catnip or yarrow provides an excellent opportunity to add variety to your own garden. In general, you can plant the Macedonian widow flower with all plants that place the same demands on location and substrate. As in almost all other areas, the Knautia macedonica is very easy to care for in this regard.
The Macedonian widow flower is blooming at this time
The Macedonian widow flower blooms from May to September. Depending on the right location, sufficient nutrient-rich soil and the right water supply, Macedonian widow flowers can actually bloom continuously for up to five months, with one flower after the other. It is not even necessary to remove the faded shoots during the flowering period. For aesthetic reasons, however, it makes sense to regularly pull old flower remnants from the perennial.
The perfect location for the Macedonian widow flower
The Macedonian widow flower loves it when its flowers are caressed by the rays of the summer sun. You don't have to worry about heat. In this respect, you should choose the location in full sun. This is the only way the perennial can develop to its full beauty. The more sun the Macedonian widow flower gets, the longer the plant will bloom. In sunny summer months it therefore blooms continuously for several months. So shady trees or nearby buildings are poison for the Macedonian widow flower. It also thrives in places that are only in the sun for a few hours and otherwise in partial shade - but here it does not flower as long as in a sunny spot.
The beauty of the Macedonian widow flower comes into its own when you plant it in small groups of 3 to 4 plants in the perennial border or in the stone bed. The distance between the individual plants should be around 60 cm, because the perennial reaches a diameter of 50 to 70 cm, so that a dense sea of perennials quickly develops from the small group of plants.
This is how the floor should be
The Macedonian widowflower prefers dry but nutrient-rich soil with a high humus content. If the soil is too lean, it can make sense to fertilize the plant with a little humus or a suitable plant fertilizer from the start in order to ensure the necessary nutrients. The Macedonian widow flower is not very demanding to care for, but its demands on the nutrient content of the soil are high. Because the fact that one flower follows the other in the summer months deprives the soil of a lot of nutrients and energy. In this respect, the soil in which you want to plant your Macedonian widow flowers should have the following characteristics:
- riddled with humus
When is the best time to plant?
Macedonian widow flowers are usually sown in spring. However, if you decide to sow in spring, you should note that the genus of widow flowers are all cold-germinating plants. This means that you should put the seeds in the fridge for a few weeks before planting to simulate a winter period. This greatly increases the chances that the seed will actually germinate after sowing.
Alternatively, you can sow the Macedonian widow flower in autumn. In this case, it is not necessary to keep the seeds in the refrigerator first. It only takes a correspondingly longer time for the seed to take root. For this, your perennials are already in spring and in summer you have the chance to see the first flowers.
The last option is sowing in late summer. Again, the seeds must be cooled in the refrigerator beforehand. The advantage of planting in late summer is that the roots are strong enough until winter to survive a really cold winter. The widow flowers swing out all the more in spring. So the possible height of around one meter for the Macedonian widow flower is reached relatively quickly.
❍ in the bucket:
Of course you can also keep the plant as a container plant on the terrace. In this case, however, you should note that only sowing in spring is possible. In addition, in winter you have to make sure that the bucket itself cannot freeze through. For wintering, a warm place directly on the house wall is most suitable for tub plants, which still gets some sunlight during the day.
Planting Macedonian Widow Flower - step by step instructions
When sowing the Macedonian widow flower, depending on the season you choose, you should take the following steps:
- Place the seeds in the refrigerator for several weeks to simulate a winter period (only when sowing in late summer or spring).
- Make a furrow about 3 cm deep.
- Place the seeds in the furrow approximately 60 cm apart.
- Only lightly cover the seed with substrate.
- Protect the young seedlings from snail damage permanently.
- Pour something regularly. The substrate must not dry out and there must be no waterlogging.
Care of the Macedonian Widow Flower
In general, the Macedonian widow flower is a very easy to care for. It is not for nothing that it grows wonderfully in nature on the edges of fields and on simple, humus-rich meadows and pastures.
As already mentioned, Macedonian widow flowers have no problem with heat and a dry soil if they have sufficiently strong roots. But prolonged drought also weakens the plant. In the evening hours, you should water the perennials a bit on dry days. In the first growth phase, right after sowing, you should also make sure that the substrate never dries out completely. As soon as the seeds have germinated, normal rain or watering in the evening on particularly dry days is sufficient.
It is important that there is no waterlogging, as this can permanently damage the Macedonian widow flower. If you find that water collects during heavy rain and does not drain properly, you should loosen the soil all around.
The Macedonian widow flower is a very fast growing perennial that shoots up every year. However, it can only do this if it is trimmed properly in spring. The necessary pruning of the Macedonian widow flower must be carried out rigorously. All old and withered stems are cut a few centimeters above the ground. Pruning should be done before the first shoots of the new plant shoot out of the ground. If you are a little later with the cut, you must make sure that you do not cut off any fresh plant parts, as this unnecessarily weakens the Macedonian widow flower. Even after such a radical pruning, the Macedonian widow flower will reach a height of up to 1 meter by summer. If you want to properly prune the Macedonian widow flower in your own garden and lure out its full splendor, it is best to take the following tips into account:
- cut back before knocking out the first new shoots
- Cut all old shoots back to about 10 cm above the ground
- Make incisions only during the flowering period with a sharp knife
- Immediately after the regression, enrich the soil with a little humus
Generally speaking, a Macedonian widow flower should never be pruned in autumn. The old shoots from the summer still store a residue of nutrients that are important for the plant in winter. It is only in the first weeks of spring that pruning of the Macedonian widow flower comes into question.
By the way:
Since the Knautia macedonica blooms several times in a row, it is also an excellent supplier of cut flowers. If you want to have some of your cut flowers in the living room for as long as possible, you should cut with a sharp knife. A pair of scissors would only unnecessarily crush the plant and injure it. You have to take the cut flowers out of the water every two days and shorten them a few centimeters. In order to keep the area on the stem that can easily absorb the nutrients from the water as large as possible, the incision should be slightly oblique so that the flower tapers downwards. And the room temperature in the room where the vase with your Macedonian widow flowers is should be around 20 degrees Celsius.
The Macedonian widow flower is very hardy and extremely robust, even at double-digit minus temperatures. Nevertheless, it is good for the plants if you cover them with some brushwood or with the last cut of grass before winter. This creates a warm blanket and provides the floor with additional energy and new nutrients before winter.
In cases where the Macedonian widow flower is pulled in a bucket, it is important to take some additional measures. A sheltered place near the house is essential to protect the roots from penetrating cold. You should also wrap linen bags around the entire bucket to prevent the substrate from freezing.
Identify diseases and pests on the Macedonian widow flower
The Macedonian widow flower is not only extremely robust, it is literally avoided by fungi and harmful insects. If your Macedonian widow flower has a sickly or atrophied appearance, it is usually not because of a disease or a pest infestation of the plant, but because of errors in care. Here are a few examples:
❍ Water and nutrient deficiency:
A lack of water and nutrients is often noticeable through pale and translucent foliage or through rather poor plant growth. In this case, you should urgently grab the watering can again and provide the plant with sufficient water.
❍ Root rot:
If there is a foul odor from the soil and the plant is rather poor in appearance, this is often due to root rot. This usually occurs when the plant has been exposed to waterlogging several times over a longer period. In this case, you should immediately transplant the Macedonian widow flower into a drier and, above all, more permeable soil. But even in such a case you do not have to remove the rotten root components, because the plant recovers from the root rot very quickly in dry soil.
If you want to cultivate the Macedonian scabious flower as a tub plant, you should fill a drainage layer in the tub to ensure that the roots are not confronted with standing water in the tub.
How to propagate the Macedonian widow flower
The Macedonian widow flower is very easy to propagate. The propagation can be done either by sowing the seeds or by dividing the roots of the Macedonian widow flower.
❍ Propagation by sowing:
The ripe seeds can be wonderfully collected from the plant in autumn. If you want to sow in autumn, you can do it immediately. Sowing can generally be done in late summer, autumn or spring. If you prefer to choose spring, you should definitely store the seeds in a cool place. In the case of sowing, you must observe the points already explained above.
❍ Propagation by root division:
If the propagation is to take place via root division, you must dig out the perennial completely in late summer. Then cut the root into several pieces of the same size. In any case, use well-cleaned and sharpened tools. Even with root division, you must ensure that the substrate does not dry out in the first two weeks and that the soil at the new planting site has sufficient nutrients.