This genus of plants is commonly called Felicia in most of our continent, and is the correct Latin name; in Italy it is often also called Agatea.
It is a perennial of modest size, native to southern Africa, where it is a very common plant in sunny areas, with sandy soils.
It produces a beautiful densely branched cushion, made up of small oval leaves, completely covered with a thin sparse down, which makes them quite rough, of a nice dark green color; throughout the summer it produces thin stems, which rise above the leaves, and carry small flower heads with a golden center and outer petals of a sky blue color.
The particular color of the flowers and the continuous flowering makes the felicia amelloides a plant very suitable for the garden, but also for the balcony, where it goes well with surfinias and geraniums in pots prepared for spring and summer. To always have a tidy plant and prolonged flowering, it is convenient to constantly trim the withered flowers.
How Felisia is grown
Agatea is well suited to life in the open ground or even in pots, it prefers loose and very well drained soils, even sandy ones; it is planted in the sun, or in partial shade, for example at the base of deciduous plants, so that in winter it can receive direct sun. It is an evergreen plant, which continues to vegetate even during the cold season, if it is found in the right growing conditions.
It tolerates drought without problems, even prolonged ones, even if it usually stops flowering completely in case of long dry periods. During the summer, from April to September, let's water regularly, when the soil is dry, mixing the watering water with fertilizer for flowering plants, at least once every 12-15 days.
With the arrival of cold weather, watering can be reduced, or even completely suspended.
These plants fear frost; if the frosts are only sporadic and of slight entity, the plant simply dries up, and then starts to develop again the following year; if, on the other hand, the frosts are very intense and prolonged, it is advisable to place the felicia in a cold greenhouse, or in the shelter of a balcony or a non-woven fabric.
Felicia is often grown in pots, and then moved to a sheltered place when the cold arrives, around October-November; just as often these plants are grown as annuals, given the ease of producing new specimens which makes them quite inexpensive.
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Felisia - Felicia">Propagate felisia
The flower heads of felisia amelloides produce innumerable fertile seeds, in fact if it is possible to leave it in the garden, it often sows itself, and the felisia spots tend to widen over time. If we have a seed tray in a warm bed, we can prepare small plants as early as November December, using the seeds collected during the summer.
The small plants should be kept in a bright, humid place, and with a constant temperature around 15-18 ° C. When they reach 12-15 cm in height we begin to trim them, to encourage the development of a large and well branched bush.
In August / September it is also possible to prepare some cuttings, taking the tips of the branches that have not produced flowers from the plant; the leaves are raised in the lower two thirds of the cutting, the stem is immersed in rooting hormone, and the cutting is buried in a good, rich, humid and good quality soil.
Even the cuttings must remain in a protected place during the winter, and it is advisable to trim the twigs in spring, otherwise the future plant will tend to be scarcely branched, and very elongated.
Felisia, Agatea - Felicia amelloides: The plants on the terrace
Over time, the agatea produces a small bush, maximum 18-25 cm high, practically developing like a ground cover plant; its dimensions make it very suitable for growing in pots on the terrace, or in small windowsill or balcony tubs.
Remember to plant the plants in containers filled with excellent soil, and also remember that often the plants placed in pots are slightly more demanding than the twins planted in the ground: therefore more regular watering and fertilizing in the right quantities and timing.
If we live in an area with very harsh winters, it will be easier to shelter our felicos from the cold, as the small pots and trays can be moved easily or covered with small remnants of non-woven fabric.