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Lychnis coronaria, also called cotonaria, is a medium-sized perennial herbaceous plant, widespread in Europe and Asia; develops large leaves, united in basal rosettes, of spatulate form, elongated and pointed, quite thick, covered by a thick thin hair that gives the plant a greyish-green color. In spring between the leaves there are thin herbaceous stems, even 60-80 cm high, quite branched. At the apex of each branching small single flowers bloom, consisting of five petals, supported by a fleshy calyx, which later develops into a pod containing the small black seeds; the flowers of lychnis they are pink in color, the "alba" variety has white or cream-colored flowers. During the winter the plants can remain evergreen, if the climate is not too rigid; usually the single plants of lychnis they do not survive for many years, but since they tend to be self-seeded, every year a fairly large patch of plants develops in the same place. To keep the plant pleasant and compact it is advisable to cut the withered flowers, shortening by about a third the stem that carries them; at the end of summer, instead, let the flowers wither, giving rise to the seeds, which must be collected when the pod that contains them is completely dried.
To obtain the best development and vigorous growth it is advisable to place the cottony plants in a sunny or partially shady place; it is advisable to avoid the complete shadow, which can cause failure to flower.
The plants of Lychnis coronaria do not fear the cold, although, in areas with very cold winters, it is advisable to cut the leaves at the base, to prevent the cold from ruining them.
However, it is an easily cultivated plant.
After planting the young plants, in the autumn or late winter, it is good to abundantly water the soil to allow the roots to gain strength; later, these plants are satisfied with the rains, although it is advisable to water them sporadically during the hot summer days when too high temperatures could cause damage to the cottony specimens.
The specimens of Lychnis coronaria can easily withstand short periods of drought, while the lack of prolonged water causes a striking withering of the leaves, which is quickly resolved by providing an abundant watering.
The specimens belonging to this variety develop without problems in any soil, sometimes they seem to bloom more in areas with poor and stony substratum; however, they prefer well-drained soils and fear water stagnation which can cause the onset of root rot.
The multiplication of these plants usually occurs by seed, from February to April, or in autumn. It is also possible to proceed with the reproduction with the division of the tufts in the autumn period. They are easily cultivable plants, which do not require particular care to give good results.
Cotonaria - Lychnis coronaria: Pests and diseases
the fresh inflorescences of these plants are often attacked by aphids; another problem may be the red spider mite. To effectively counter the problem it is good to intervene before the vegetative restart with broad-spectrum insecticide products so as to prepare a preventive treatment that can protect the plants from pests and diseases.