Loosestrife belongs to the wild perennials. With its colorful flowers, it also fits into any garden. We’ll show you how to plant and care for this easy-to-care-for perennial.
Common loosestrife belongs to the botanical family of primroses. The herbaceous and hardy perennial can reach a height of up to three feet if you plant it in the right location. The bright yellow petals are the distinguishing feature of loosestrife and make it an eye-catcher in your perennial bed. But it is also still used in herbal medicine today and is made into tea, for example.
Planting loosestrife: How to do it right
You don’t have to be a gardening pro to plant loosestrife in your garden. This native wild perennial is very frugal and grows even in places where other plants would die. The following tips will help you grow loosestrife properly in your garden bed:
- The right location: In the wild, you’ll find loosestrife primarily along roadsides, forest edges and riverbanks. In your garden, too, you should provide the plant with a slightly moist environment. If you have a pond in your garden, it is best to plant the loosestrife in the soil near the shore. Also make sure that the location is as warm and sunny as possible, so that the wild perennial sprouts as many flowers as possible.
- The right soil: Loosestrife needs a soil that is as moist as possible and ideally rich in humus. If you work some compost or clay into the soil at the site, the soil will not dry out as quickly.
- The right time: If you want to grow loosestrife as a young plant, it is best to plant it in the soil in autumn or spring. Just make sure that the soil is not frozen at this time. Sow the seeds of the wild perennial between April and June.
Sowing loosestrife: If you want to sow the wild perennial directly in the bed, you can buy the seeds either in garden stores or online.
- First, prepare the soil for the seeds. To do this, you should loosen the soil with a rake and weed out any weeds growing at the site. Enrich the planting soil with some compost.
- Now press the seeds into the soil at intervals of five to ten centimeters and water them lightly.
- Once the seeds germinate, you should set the seedlings at distances of about 20 centimeters.
Grow loosestrife as a young plant: You can plant the seedlings in the spring or fall.
- Remove weeds from the soil at the site and loosen the soil slightly.
- Now dig the planting hole. Keep a distance of at least 60 centimeters from other plants. The hole should be dug deep enough to provide enough space for the root ball.
- Add some compost or loam to the excavated soil and fill it back into the planting hole.
- Especially in the first weeks after planting, you must water the loosestrife regularly so that the soil never dries out completely.
- Caution: Loosestrife tends to grow quickly. To prevent it from taking up space from your other plants, you should regularly remove the root runners of the perennial. You can also prevent loosestrife from spreading uncontrollably by placing a root barrier around the perennial bed.
The right care for loosestrife
Loosestrife is a robust wild plant and therefore needs little care. However, the following tips can help you to enjoy this pretty perennial for a long time:
- Watering: A consistently well-moistened soil is especially important for loosestrife. Therefore, you should water it regularly. However, make sure that you only water the perennial when the top layer of soil has dried slightly. This way you can avoid waterlogging. You should also mulch the surface of the plant to prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
- Fertilize: If you mixed some compost into the planting soil when you planted it, you will not need to fertilize the loosestrife in the future.
- Wintering: Like many perennials, loosestrife sheds its leaves in the fall. Pick up the fall foliage to keep the soil around the plant well aerated. The hardy perennial does not need special protection. When temperatures drop below freezing, you should stop watering loosestrife to avoid frostbite.
- Pests and diseases: Loosestrife is very rarely plagued by pests and is also immune to most plant diseases. Only snails can be dangerous, especially to the young plants. However, you can protect your perennial bed well with a slug fence (more tips here: Fighting slugs in the garden). If you water the loosestrife too much, its roots can also rot.
The use of loosestrife as a medicinal plant
In folk medicine, loosestrife was considered an effective remedy for various inflammations early on. Among other things, the herb is said to have hemostatic abilities, but comprehensive scientific studies are lacking.
Nevertheless, loosestrife contains some ingredients to which a medicinal effect can be attributed:
- Saponins: loosestrife contains plant saponins that can fight viruses, among other things.
- Tannins: The plant defense substances tannins are also found in the plant parts of loosestrife. Some tannins are thought to kill harmful microorganisms and help with inflammation of the skin or mucous membranes, among other things.
- Vitamin C: The vitamin C found in loosestrife can strengthen the immune system.
- Flavonoids: Another secondary plant compound found in the wild loosestrife is flavonoids. They can reduce high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- If you want to use loosestrife as a medicinal plant, you should seek medical advice on possible side effects beforehand. If you collect the flowers and leaves of the wild perennial between June and August and let them dry in a shady place, you can make a tea from them.
Here’s how to make tea from loosestrife:
- Pour one tablespoon of dried loosestrife leaves into a cup.
- Pour 250 milliliters of boiling water over the herb.
- Let the tea steep for about ten minutes and then strain the leaves through a sieve.
- Depending on your taste, you can sweeten the tea with a little honey.
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I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
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