Large annual plant, native to Central and South America, very common in cultivation in Europe; it quickly produces a large head, with thin erect herbaceous stems, which bear numerous palmate and pinnate leaves, consisting of long lanceolate leaves, often characterized by small thorns, also present on the stems. From late spring until the end of summer at the apex of the stems it produces particular rounded racemes, which bear numerous pinkish flowers; as the flowers bloom and wither, the plant produces further stems, on which further flowers begin to bloom; at the height of the growing season they can reach 140-150 cm in height.
A single plant can therefore occupy the space of a medium-sized shrub.
How it is grown
These are easy-to-grow annual plants, highly recommended also because the seed varieties produce very decorative flowers, without the need for excessive care; from a few seeds a real shrub originates: these plants develop motion rapidly, in a few weeks they pass from the young shoots to a 45-55 cm shrub.
Let's plant the plant in a sunny or semi-shady place, in a good rich and cool soil; they can endure short periods of drought without problems, even if in general they tend to bloom at their best only if watered with good regularity, as soon as the soil dries.
Every 10-12 days we supply the plant with specific fertilizer for flowering plants.
They are afraid of the cold, therefore they take place only when spring has already begun to warm us with its warmth and the night minimum temperatures are above 10-12 ° C; at the arrival of autumn the plant dries up and dies.
Withered flowers are usually followed by seeds, which can be used the following year for sowing new plants. Often in the garden the plant tends to self-seed, behaving like a perennial plant, since from year to year it tends to produce new shoots.
These species are sown directly at home, in spring, or in February-March, in seedbeds. We keep the soil of the seedbed well moist until the seeds germinate completely. On the market there are numerous hybrids of this plant, with flowers of a particular color, for this reason it is not said that the plants obtained from seed produce flowers of the same color as those of the mother plant.