Cockatrice flowers show their large, bright flowers throughout the summer months. What’s more, they are easy to care for. Find out how to make cockleburs a colorful eye-catcher in your garden here.
The coquina flower is characterized by its long flowering period from June to October. Thus, it not only shows its colorful splendor throughout the summer, but also provides food for insects as a source of nectar. Other names for the flower are painter’s or parrot flower.
Depending on the variety, the coquina flower grows long stemmed between 30 and 70 centimeters high. Thus, it is also suitable as a cut flower and as such is a popular component of bouquets. The flowers are large, the petals are elongated and smooth. They shine brightly, mostly in yellow and red to brown colors, and can be unicolored or bicolored. The characteristic spherical center of the flowers usually shows red, brown or yellow.
The plant is native to the USA and is found there in about 25 species. In this country, mostly hybrid varieties are found, for example, the cocklebur Burgundy, Kobold or Tizzy.
Planting and caring for Cockatrice flower
What should you pay attention to when planting?
- Time: Plant the coquina flower best in the spring after the last frost (for example, after the Ice Saints in mid-May). If you want to sow the flower yourself, you should do this indoors as early as the end of March to the beginning of April or outdoors from the end of April.
- Location: Cockatrice flowers love the sun. So choose a sunny location so the flowers will sprout properly. Since the long stems can break in strong winds, it is advisable to choose a location protected from the wind, for example near a house wall. Keep a distance of about 30 centimeters from other coquina plants. Coquette flowers harmonize well with plants such as carnation root or variegated nettles. However, you should not plant sunflowers in their vicinity, as these would deprive the cocklebur of nutrients.
- Soil: Cocklebur grows best in loose, nutrient-rich soil. You can create these conditions by mixing sand and humus or compost into the soil. Clay soils are unsuitable. Dig holes about 15 centimeters deep for planting and then carefully place the coquina plant in them.
Care Cockatrice flower
How should you care for Cockatrice flowers?
- Watering: Immediately after planting, you should water the coquina flowers vigorously. Later you should do this regularly, depending on the weather. During prolonged heat, you should water more frequently (for example, once or twice a day) than during rainy periods. The best times to water are in the morning and in the evening. Be sure to avoid waterlogging, as it will harm the plants.
- Fertilizing: To provide your coquina flowers with adequate nutrients, you should fertilize them. The amount and regularity depend on the type of fertilizer. It is best to use organic fertilizer.
- Plucking: It is best to remove withered inflorescences immediately so that new, fresh flowers can grow back all the faster.
- Pests and diseases: It is possible for cocklebur flowers, like many other plants, to be attacked by pests or diseases. Examples are aphids, powdery mildew or foam cicadas. The latter, circa eight-inch insects, readily infest coquina plants and are usually easy to remove with a stream of water. Learn how to control aphids and powdery mildew in our linked guides.
- Pruning: In the fall, you should prune your flowers. Be rigorous: cut the cocklebur flowers back to just above the ground (about a hand’s width). This will allow the flower to form new shoots and prepare for the winter.
- Winterizing: Pruning is the key to preparing the plants for winter. If temperatures are low, it is additionally advisable to protect coquina flowers from frost. To overwinter plants, you can cover them with bark mulch or autumn leaves, for example.