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Description for Gentian
They are symbols for alpine flora and as most hail from mountainous regions, they are ideal subjects for the rock garden.
Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the gentian family, the tribe Gentianeae, and the monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae. With about 400 species it is considered a large genus.
The ultimate example of their alpine nature is the fact that gentians grow on the slopes of Mt. Everest at an elevation of 18,000 feet! As a genus, they are indeed primarily alpine in nature, occurring in the mountains of western North America, Europe, Andes, Himalayas and Australia/New Zealand. However, with well over 200 species, there are actually some gentians which are better suited for the perennial border or woodland garden.
They range from just a few centimeters to giants up to 2 m. The predominant colour is blue, but they do come in white, yellow, purple, red and even green. Strangely, while blue is the dominant colour, those which hail from Australia/ New Zealand are almost all white-flowered! Their trumpet-like flowers are primarily adapted to pollination by bees, which, as a rule, are attracted to blue flowers.
Planting and care
It is probably easiest to grow Gentiana species such as Gentian from plants purchased from garden centres; even then these are not the easiest of plants to grow.
Once you have Gentiana seedlings transplant them into the garden in the autumn or spring at a spacing of 15 to 30 cm (most Gentiana varieties) or about 50cm if you are growing one of the taller Gentiana species.
Caring for Gentian
- Not the easiest species to grow or look after, Gentiana requires a moist soil, so water regularly but do not drench the plants; never disturb the roots or move the plants during the growing season.
If you require more Gentiana plants it is best to purchase them from a garden centre; or very carefully propagate Gentiana by division once they have finished blooming.
Typical uses of Gentian
Special features: Best in part shade areas of rock gardens, woodland or shade gardens, wild flower gardens, native plant gardens or along streams or ponds. Also may be grown in shady areas of borders.
Culinary use: na
Ornamental use: The plant is used for ornamental purpose
Medicinal use: The plant is used in folk medicine to treat diabetes mellitus, rheumatisum, abdominal ulcers, hernia, swelling, itching and insect poisoning.
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