It produces a large shrub with many well branched stems; the stems are thin, often prostrate or arched; the shrubs can reach 2-3 m in height.
The foliage is evergreen, with a pointed shape; the colour is dark green in the already old leaves, while the new foliage is often orange or reddish; the leaves are slightly leathery, glossy.
In late spring, from May, at the foliar axil, towards the apex of the branches, the Agarista populifolia produces small bunches of perfumed flowers; the flowers are shaped like small bells, creamy white, delicately perfumed; they are followed by small dark berries containing the seeds.
The agarists are also used as hedges or borders for the garden, as they bear without problems the pruning.
They love particularly the proximity of the water, therefore they can be placed close to water gardens or streams.
The Agarista populifolia prefer shady or semi-shady positions; they can bear even direct sunlight, but in such case it is advisable to shade them slightly during the hottest months of the year to avoid that they remain for too long under the too intense direct light of the summer days. They are not afraid of the cold and can bear, without any problems, even very intense and persistent frosts. Even in very cold climates they can be planted in the ground, without any problems due to frost.
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From March to September-October, the Agarista populifolia should be watered regularly, keeping the soil cool and slightly moist, but not in water soup as water stagnation can cause damage and problems to the health of the plant. Every 4-6 months provide slow release granular fertilizer for acidophilic plants, to be spread at the feet of the plants; at the end of winter it is good to bury at the feet of the shrubs well mature organic fertilizer or earthworm humus.
The same can be done when the plant is buried in the ground, so as to provide it with all the necessary nourishment during the rooting phase.
Like many other heathers, also the Agarista populifolia prefer acid soils; for this reason it is best to avoid excessively calcareous soils and also when watering, as far as possible, let’s provide rainwater or limestone purified water, to avoid that the plant needs green fertilizers as the years go by. The soil should then ensure good drainage, so as to avoid possible harmful stagnation of water.
The multiplication takes place by seed, collecting the small seeds in summer and utilizing them immediately, directly in the plant or in the seedbed; in summer, it is also possible to take up semi-woody cuttings, preferring the branches which have not produced flowers. A precaution is that of allowing the cuttings to root in pot, before the final planting in full earth.
Agarista populifolia: Pests and diseases
If properly cultivated, agarists do not have problems with pests or diseases; in case of cultivation in a very dry place, or with soil always soaked in water, in the first case they can show dryness of various types or poor flowering, in the second case radical rottenness that is very harmful to the health of the plant.