The Leycesteria formosa is a deciduous shrub originating in Central Asia. It has a disorderly development and the thin stems, bright green in colour, are little branched, and tend to grow mainly towards the top, quickly reaching 100-150 cm in height. The large ovate leaves are bright green, but there are cultivars with yellow or orange buds.
By late summer-early autumn, the leycesteries produce long hanging inflorescences, formed by small white flowers, delicately perfumed, subtended by purplish-red bracts. The flowers are followed by roundish, purple berries, much appreciated by the birds. To obtain a compact bush and abundant flowering, it is advisable to prune the plant in spring, shortening the entire head by at least one third.
The Leycesteria formosa shrubs develop best in a sunny place, however they can also bear locations in shady areas, even if they develop best in areas where they can receive a few hours of sunshine a day. This type of plant is very rustic and resistant and has no particular problems to endure the harsh temperatures of the winters, even if it is good to cover the base of the plant with mulch material, such as dry leaves or straw, in regions with very cold and long winters.
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The plants of Leycesteria formosa, usually, are satisfied with the rains, but the plants just planted in spring are to be watered with a certain regularity, if the soil dries up too much.
In case of prolonged drought during the summer months, wet the soil deeply, at least once a week.
It is good to check that the soil maintains the correct humidity, but without water stagnation, which can be dangerous for the health of the plant.
The plants of Leycesteria formosa are to be placed in a soft and rich of humus soil, very well drained.
The perfect soil for this type of plant is made of wet and fresh material that does not retain too long the excess water, to prevent water stagnation.
In autumn and spring it is advisable to spread at the base of the shrub mature organic fertilizer or slow release granular fertilizer that will give the plant all the nutrients necessary for proper development.
As far as the multiplication of this type of plant is concerned, in the spring it is possible to divide the heads of roots in order to obtain new plants to be planted; in the summer it is possible to prepare semi-woody cuttings, in the autumn it is advisable to extract the fresh seeds from the fruits. The prepared seeds must then be kept in a temperate place, at least 15-20 ° C, or you can store the seeds for spring sowing.
Leycesteria formosa: Pests and diseases
Generally, the plants of Leycesteria formosa, being rustic and resistant, are not attacked by parasites or diseases. It is possible, however, that in the warmer months the presence of mites or rust appears. In this case, it is advisable to intervene with targeted products, which will effectively counteract the problem.