With its attractive flowers, the elf spur sets colorful accents on the balcony and window sill. Here you can find out what you need to consider for magnificent growth.© ChrWeiss - Fotolia.com
Within a few years, the elf spur (Diascia) has conquered our hearts. This is not least due to the abundant flowering of plants from South Africa, which only found a permanent place in our garden centers in the 1990s. The elf spur is very easy to care for and looks extremely attractive in flower boxes, flower pots or hanging baskets. If you would also like to make friends with this lush growing and flowering exotic, you will now find tips and advice on what to consider when planting.
Elf spur - the ideal balcony plant
Before planting, the hobby gardener naturally asks where to put the plant. The answer to the elf spur is simple, because it is the ideal balcony plant. The plants grow quite compact and can therefore form dense cushions within a short time. Added to this are the numerous small flowers that always provide admiring looks. The slightly hanging growth is also an advantage if the elf spur is to decorate window boxes or hanging baskets.
Find the right location
The approximately 30 centimeters tall plants are grateful for a place in the sun. The elf spur can also be cultivated in partial shade. A bright location is important in any case. Otherwise, the hobby gardener will be less happy about the rather measly growth and the lack of flowers. Furthermore, the plant wants to be airy. This is usually the case in window boxes. Drafts should be avoided.
Downpours and storms can seriously affect the plant. A protected location is therefore an advantage. If the balcony is covered, the elf spur will feel particularly comfortable and the delicate flowers will not be affected by moisture and windbreak.
" Tip: A sunny location is ideal for the plants. But: The sunnier the plant is, the more it has to be watered.
The ideal location in brief:
Choose the ideal substrate
In any case, the earth should be of high quality. To ensure that no waterlogging occurs, the permeability of the floor must be ensured. The plants do not tolerate waterlogging and the roots rot quickly. The permeability of the substrate can be increased by adding sand or shards of clay. In order to prevent the abundant flowering, the elf spur needs a nutrient-rich substrate.
" Tip: By adding compost, the soil can be supplied with additional nutrients.
The right substrate in brief:
Planting elf spur - explained step by step
❶ Select planter
❷ Select location
❸ Provide substrate
❹ Place drainage in the bottom of the vessel
❺ Use plants
❻ Fill up with substrate
❼ Press the floor slightly
❽ Water the plant well
Planting outdoors is not recommended for the elf spur. Since the plants can easily rot from the inside, they develop significantly better in a planter and are also easier to cultivate there. The planter should have sufficient drainage holes, because waterlogging can occur particularly quickly in planters if the permeability of the substrate and planter is not taken into account. Drainage in the bottom of the vessel makes the substrate more permeable. The plants should be used carefully to protect the roots. After planting, water them vigorously.
" Tip: If elf spur is arranged in the planters in connection with verbena or petunias, nice arrangements result.
Planting elf spur outdoors - yes or no?
Here the opinions differ. We believe that the best and easiest way to cultivate the plants is in a flower box or hanging basket. In general, there is of course nothing against planting elf spur outdoors. However, you should once again pay attention to the right location and the appropriate soil conditions. The plants can rot easily and are badly affected by rain and wind in a less protected location.
How can elf spur multiply?
Elf spur can be propagated through cuttings and seeds. In order for vigorous plants to develop, there are a few things to consider with the individual methods of propagation.
Cuttings are cut in summer. Those who overwinter their plants can still get cuttings in the winter quarters. The cuttings should be about ten centimeters long. Planters are filled with growing soil.
" Tip: Up to five cuttings can be planted in a conventional flower pot. When growing in a hanging basket, there should be at least twice as many cuttings.
If a plastic bag is placed over the planters, a microclimate can be created that accelerates the root formation. The planter should be bright and set up at room temperature. Direct sunlight should be avoided when cultivating cuttings. If propagation is successful, the first roots will have developed after about a month. Now the cover can be removed and the plants can move outdoors if the temperatures allow it. If the cuttings were cut in autumn, they should be overwintered warm and not brought outside until next spring.
If the hobby gardener is already looking forward to richly flowering elf spur, he can get the seeds from his existing plant. Alternatively, the trade offers corresponding seeds. First, nursery pots are filled with loose flower or growing soil. The seeds are placed in the pots and covered with soil about one centimeter. Using plastic film as a cover is also an advantage here. The substrate should only be cast on lightly so that no waterlogging occurs.
After about 14 days, the seeds start to germinate. When the young plants have grown to about five centimeters, they are placed in separate planters.
" Tip: If several young plants are placed together in a planter, bushy and strong plants can be grown.
The young plants can move outdoors in mid-May. First choose a half-shaded location. The delicate leaves could be damaged in full sun, so getting used to them should be done gradually.
What should be considered when repotting?
If the planters have been chosen large enough, it will not be necessary to repot the plants during the growth phase. For plants of several years in spring, this can happen before the start of the growing season. If it becomes too narrow for the elf spur in the planter, then it is time to move. This can be seen from the fact that the roots already protrude from the planter. The time for repotting has also come when plant neighbors have spread so far that they displace the elf spur and prevent it from growing and blooming.