Today we have in Gardenprue a grass, herbaceous with high resistance and relatively little care, the Festuca glauca , very suitable for a rockery garden for example or areas of stony substrate. It admits cutting, pruning, treading and adverse conditions although with some but that another.
THE GENUS FESTUCA
It is a broad genus and contains more than 600 species, some of which are used as forage due to their high yield . More than 10,000 kg / ha can be obtained from some species destined for forage cultivation. In this case, the Festuca glauca is of ornamental interest. Example species Festuca forage is Festuca arundinacea, although it is not a forage that herbivores have special appreciation. It does not have a very good palatability in general. If it is cultivated, it is because of its high forage production and the possibility of obtaining it for a long period of time. In addition, this last species has been used as grass, of great hardness for more temperate and warmer climates. But we leave this for another time.
Another species with forage interest and better characteristics, although with lower production, is the Festuca pratensis . The surname “pratensis” indicates its widespread use in meadows for extensive and not so extensive livestock.
ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION OF FESTUCA GLAUCA
It has its origin in Europe and naturally, it is found almost exclusively in the central and southern areas. It is widespread in France and the northern half of Spain.
It is a plant that does not grow more than 30 cm both in height and width, with thin and elongated leaves forming pom-poms that can be organized as upholstery in some areas of the garden. The flower stems protrude from the vegetative pompom and can reach 40 or 50 cm from the ground.
It is very suitable for rockery gardens and those that do not have irrigation. It resists trampling very well. The flowers are practically unattractive. If they are left it is to get seed but nothing else. It has a fairly fast growth, so we can cover and upholster the desired area in a short time.
A CURIOSITY ABOUT HIS NAME
There are numerous species of plants with the surname glauca. We can find Echeveria glauca, Pilea glauca, Nicotiana glauca, Adenia glauca, Haworthia glauca … Do they look alike? Yes, in its bluish color, glaucous means blue . As a curious fact, the glaucoma disease is called yes because the pupil of the eye remains with a bluish greenish tone.
VARIETIES OF FESTUCA GLAUCA
The following stand out:
- Elijah blue: The most cultivated blue color lighter than others.
- Boulder Blue: Throw something silver and it resists drought better than the previous one.
- Blaufink: It is very compact. It forms more pompom than other varieties in addition to having the finest leaf.
- Harz: Less bluish than the previous ones. Strip more to grayish olive green.
CULTIVATION AND CARE OF FESTUCA GLAUCA
It is a plant appreciated for its elegant bearing and for being visually very different from the others of the genus Festuca mentioned above. It is also easy to care for. Let’s list them:
EXPOSURE AND TEMPERATURES
It is a plant resistant to many climatic conditions and withstands wind well . Its root system remains and can sprout the following year even if the aerial part appears to be dead or diseased.
In hot climates it may not grow too large and lose vigor due to excessive heat.
In cold climates , during winter periods, the aerial part suffers and becomes brown , losing much of its attractiveness. We could think of cutting the area part but the truth is that it protects the roots from the cold. Therefore, it is advisable to do it at the end of summer or beginning of spring.
In fact, its rusticity allows it to survive temperatures below -10ºC although the aerial part suffers.
It generally prefers bright places with direct exposure although it can grow more or less well in semi-shade. The choice of site also depends a bit on the weather. In very hot weather, being somewhat protected from direct exposure will help you not suffer so much in summer.
It does not require much irrigation except that provided by the rain and little else. In very dry climates with long periods of drought and very hot summers, it will take one or two weekly waterings in summer. In more temperate climates, weekly watering can also be provided to keep it green and the leaves from burning.
SUBSTRATE AND SUBSCRIBER
It can grow in a wide pH range but prefers neutral to somewhat acidic. It can withstand from 5.5 pH points. It is very common in rockery and garden beds to surround the root balls of Festuca glauc a with a superficial layer of pine bark (acid) or also with gravel or volcanic stones typical of this type of garden.
For young plants, it is good to nourish the soil with mulch or very mature compost, preferably acidic to favor their development and maintain adequate humidity. Although the plant is drought tolerant, there is an establishment period when it needs a little more attention.
It requires very good drainage and with some water retention. Hence the reason to cover the ground with gravel and much better with pine bark bark or mulch. This helps retain moisture, the so-called mulching effect.
PRUNING OF THE FESTUCA GLAUCA
It supports pruning well and even appreciates it to rejuvenate.
Being a plant with ornamental interest in the vegetative part, it is advisable to cut the flower heads . With this we achieve two things:
- Saving of nutrients and energy expenditure in producing flower and seed.
- Favor vegetative growth and density.
Of course, if we want the plant to develop freely on the desired surface, we can freely let it develop a flower and later a seed.
We must also cut old, dead or damaged leaves to maintain a healthy appearance.
It is done by division of kills and it is also good to do it from time to time. It can be done in the fall and spring. The root balls of Festuca glauca last about 4 years and therefore, the division every 3 years or the propagation by seed must be done from time to time to keep the area healthy, with renewal and with the size it should have.