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The Fior di stecco, Mezereo or Daphne mezereum is a small semi-evergreen shrub native to Asia and central and southern Europe. It consists of compact tufts of thin dark brown branches, which usually tend to be hanging down; the leaves are small, lanceolate, bright green. Between the end of winter and the beginning of spring it is filled with a myriad of flowers of various colors, from white to pink to red, delicately scented. In summer it produces small dark berries that contain some seeds. All parts of the plant are poisonous, so be careful not to swallow it and not rub it on the skin.
The Fior di stecco particularly likes the positions in full sun or in partial shade and it is better to prefer places sheltered from strong winds and too hot sun of the summer months.
It does not fear the cold, in fact it usually develops better in places where winter frosts are easy. It can withstand particularly harsh temperatures that even reach -30C °.
The variety Daphne mezereum or fior di stecco has no particular requirements with regard to watering.
For most of the year the rains can fully satisfy the water needs of the daphne; in summer, on the other hand, especially on the hottest days, it is advisable to supply water, preventing the soil from drying too much, at least every 10-15 days. It is good to check that the soil maintains the right degree of humidity, even if, at the same time, it is necessary to avoid the formation of dangerous stagnant water.
Supply fertilizer for flowering plants every 20-25 days from March to October.
The stick flower or mezereo loves soil that is rich in humus, loose and well drained, regardless of the Ph value. To plant this decorative shrub use a compound consisting of peat, sand and soil in equal parts, mixed with a good amount of coarse-grained material, such as expanded clay or pumice stone. The variety of Daphne mezereum is rather rustic and can be planted even in rather difficult soils, given its good adaptability.
As far as the multiplication of the Daphne mezereum variety is concerned, this can be obtained by seed or by cutting, obtained from adult plants. The new plants must be kept in a container for at least two years, or at least for at least two winters, to prevent the intense cold from ruining them before they can be planted, in this way they will be able to acquire the necessary strength to resist repotting.
Fior di stecco, Mezereo - Daphne mezereum: Pests and diseases
Fior di stecco or Mezereo plants are generally quite resistant and are not often affected by pests and diseases that can compromise their health; nevertheless they can present problems related to the attack of aphids and scale insects, especially as regards the younger plants, which can suffer the greatest damage. Their presence can also cause the onset of other diseases of fungal origin. In this case, it is possible to intervene with specific products that will counteract its spread.