The acinus alpinus plant is a small evergreen perennial herbaceous plant, widespread in central and southern Europe, especially in mountainous areas. This species has a prostrate or creeping development, and generally remains below 10 cm, with the stems bearing the flowers that rise up to 25-35 cm in height. The stems are thin, woody at the base, quadrangular in shape, and reddish brown, often pubescent.
The foliage is evergreen, the small leathery leaves are rough and thick, dark green in color and oval or lanceolate. The flowers bloom from late spring until the end of summer, gathered in whorls, at the apex of the stems or at a node; they have a tubular shape and are deep purple in color, with the glass covered by a thick hair.
Being a species belonging to the Lamiaceae family, Acinos has the typical flower of these plants.
The flowers are followed by small fruits consisting of 4 symmetrical parts, which break off when ripe, each containing a single seed. Acinos alpinus is a plant very suitable for cultivation in rock gardens widely used at all latitudes. Its ornamental effect is remarkable, especially when the plant blooms and is filled with small flowers.
Acinus alpinus plants are generally grown in full sun, they are not afraid of the cold. In areas with very high summer temperatures it is advisable to grow plants in a partially shaded place, especially during the hottest hours of the day. It is also possible to grow them in a container, so as to move the pots in a shady place during the hottest months of the year in the southern areas of the peninsula.
Generally the acinos alpinus plants are satisfied with the rains and do not need abundant watering; in fact, however, in nature these plants develop in the mountains, where the temperature difference between day and night produces an abundant amount of dew every day; for this reason it is advisable to remember to water the plants sporadically during the summer, and even in particularly dry periods.
For the soil, the acinos prefers fresh, well-drained, possibly stony and calcareous soils. It is grown in common garden soil, lightened with sand and a little balanced universal soil. The specimens grown in pots are divided and repotted every 2-3 years, replacing all the soil with fresh substrate.
An ideal place for the cultivation of Acinos is the rock garden, where with a minimum of substrate this plant can grow optimally.
In spring it is possible to practice apical cuttings, using stems that do not bear buds; in autumn the tufts are divided, keeping some well-developed roots for each portion practiced. In spring or autumn it is also possible to sow directly directly; often the acinos self-seed.
In nature this plant obviously reproduces through seeds and its spontaneous spread is very easy and widespread in many areas of Italy.
Acinos alpinus: Pests and diseases
Acinos alpinus plants fear excessive heat and very prolonged drought; they can be affected by cochineal and mites.