Cheiranthus is an evergreen perennial herbaceous plant native to Europe and the Canary Islands; these plants do not tolerate winter cold very well, and therefore they are often grown as annuals or biennials, they are easily self-seeded and are therefore very suitable for running. A common name for this type of plant is violaciocca.
These herbaceous plants have erect stems, 25-40 cm tall, branched at the apex, with green leaves, sometimes pubescent; in spring they produce numerous ears covered with small flowers with four petals, very similar to phloxes; the violet ones have fragrant flowers, pink, red, yellow, orange or purple, often with zoning or bronze-colored stains. For a more abundant flowering of the Cheiranthus it is recommended to trim the spikes of withered flowers.
In order to have a better development of the Cheiranthus plants, it is good to put it in a sunny place, or even in the partial shade, where they can receive some hours of direct sunlight during the course of the day; the violaciocca plants generally fear temperatures below -5 ° C, in places with harsh winters they should be considered annual plants, or they should be grown in pots and placed in a sheltered place when the outside temperatures begin to be colder.
The violaciocca plants are generally satisfied with the rains, and can withstand long periods of drought; It is however necessary to water the plants in case of long periods with no precipitation. When it is in the presence of very young specimens it is good to intervene with the most constant supply of water, taking care to let the soil dry well between one watering and another and checking that there is no possibility of water stagnation which would be harmful.
In spring it is good to bury at the foot of the plant a slow release granular fertilizer, specific for flowering plants so as to provide the Cheiranthus specimens with all the nutrients necessary for better development.
The specimens belonging to this particular variety grow without problems in any terrain, even in common garden soil; still prefer light and loose soils, very well drained because water stagnations can cause serious damage to their health; they are very suitable plants for decorating and coloring rock gardens.
Reproduction of these specimens usually occurs by seed; in February-March it is possible to sow the cheiranthus in a seedbed, in a warm bed keeping the new shoots in a protected place before the final planting, until the external temperatures are no longer pleasant and there is no risk of night frosts; It is also possible to sow directly at the house, in March-April, or during the autumn season. These plants are easy to cultivate, in fact, they often tend to self-seed.
Violaciocca - Cheiranthus: Pests and diseases
These plants are rather resistant to the attack of pests and diseases, but, occasionally, the aphids ruin the inflorescences of the violaciocca. If you notice the presence of this problem, it is good to intervene with specific products or with the use of natural preparations that can be made with garlic, boiled in water, or Marseille soap diluted in water and vaporized on the affected plant .