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Some species of small plants belong to the erodium genus, widespread in nature in Europe, Asia and Africa; most are perennial herbaceous, with a ground cover development, there are also some shrub species, which produce small woody shrubs, little developed.
All the species are characterized by roundish foliage, of dark green color, and during the spring and summer months they produce numerous small flowers, with five petals; the flowers are pink in color, very often marked by spots or streaks in a contrasting color, which make them very decorative. They belong to the same family as geraniums, and can be seen in particular from the thin beak-shaped fruits, half-woody capsules bearing fertile seeds.
These plants are perennial, which means that from year to year they tend to develop and expand, although during the winter most of them completely lose the aerial part.
These small plants grow in the pasture areas, but also between the alpine rocks and the Mediterranean areas; the ideal place to place them is the rock garden, among the hollows between the stones, where they find an ideal climate. They prefer sunny positions, as the sun promotes their flowering.
They need a calcareous soil, even sandy, preferably quite fertile and very well drained; in fact the main enemy is water stagnation, which can cause the death of young and old plants, also and especially during the winter.
In general, plants that have been planted for a long time do not need great care, they are satisfied with the rains of bad weather, even if they may need water during the hot season; the young plants are planted in late winter or early spring; if the period is particularly dry, remember to water them once a week to promote rooting.
Some species can also be sown directly at home, in spring, or in greenhouses in February, so that they already have seedlings ready in April, to place them in the garden.
Erodium - Erodium: Variety of Erodium
The species that are part of the genus Erodium are very many and different from each other, the majority spontaneous but the varieties cultivated and selected for the ornamental green are also different. The Erodium guttatum and the Erodium lancinatum are two typical varieties of sandy and rocky areas. These plants do not need an abundant layer of organic matter to grow but are satisfied with the bare minimum. In fact they vegetate on shallow and poor soils and suffer deep and wet soils. Other varieties that adapt well to less fertile conditions are the Erodium chrysanthum, the Erodium rupestre, the Erodium petraeum.
In more humid and cooler areas, such as under trees and in woodland clearings, other varieties of Erodium develop, such as the Erodium manescavii, the Erodium carvifolium. Finally, among the most plastic and adaptable species to different conditions, we point out the Erodium cicutarium.
The species of Erodium suitable for calacaree and rocky substrates are widely used for the construction of rock gardens. The erodium in fact embellishes the rock gardens with the colors of its flowers and with its special shapes.