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Maintain paper buttons - watering, fertilizing and preventing diseases

Paper buttons are fairly easy to care for. We'll show you what you should keep in mind so that you can enjoy your plants for longer.

The paper button (Ammobium alatum) is an attractive summer flower, which looks particularly good in rock gardens. But you can also enjoy the annual plant from the daisy family beyond the gardening season, because the paper button can be used as a dried flower and processed into attractive bouquets and arrangements. The frugal plants require little maintenance. We have summarized what needs to be taken into account in the care below.

Correct pouring

The water requirement of the paper button is rather moderate. The plant also tolerates longer dry periods. If watering is neglected, it is less tragic than overdoing it with irrigation. The plants from Australia cannot tolerate damp soils. If the moisture persists for a longer period of time, this leads to waterlogging. The roots are attacked and the plant starts to rot.

Container plants are particularly affected by waterlogging as a result of watering errors. Therefore, when choosing the right planter, make sure that there are enough drainage holes in the bottom of the vessel for the liquid. Drainage can also protect against waterlogging. To do this, simply put potsherds or gravel on the bottom of the pot before potting the plant.

" Tip: Do not water the plant until the substrate has dried.

Pour paper buttons:

  • water moderately
  • Earth may dry out
  • Avoid waterlogging

Proper fertilization

To promote flowering, it is advisable to provide the paper button with fertilizer every now and then during the growing season. Liquid fertilizer for flowering plants is preferred. This is easy to dose and can simply be added to the irrigation water.

Anyone who mixes in compost when planting the soil provides the paper button with an organic slow-release fertilizer, which provides the plant with nutrients throughout the summer. Additional fertilization is then usually not necessary.

" Watch out: The plant should not be over-fertilized. If the nutrient supply is too high, there is a risk that the flowers will literally fall apart.

Fertilize paper buttons:

  • Give liquid fertilizer during flowering
  • mix in the compost
  • Avoid over-fertilization

Increase paper buttons

The paper button can be multiplied by seeds. Seeds are commercially available all year round. You can also get them from existing seed plants. Then the flower heads cannot be used as a dried flower, or you can keep some flowers and let them bloom or fade.

" Tip: If the paper buttons are to be used as dried flowers, they must be cut before the flower heads are fully opened.

The seeds are preferred indoors. This can start in March. To do this, fill a planter with growing soil and spread the seeds over it. These are covered with a thin layer of earth and germinate at temperatures around 15 degrees. After the ice saints, you can plant the young plants outdoors.

Overview of care measures

care measureexplanation
to waterIt is poured only moderately. A dry floor is better tolerated than waterlogging. If the plant is kept in a bucket, it needs regular watering. Make sure that the planter is permeable.
FertilizeLiquid fertilizer can be used to promote flowering. Over-fertilization should be avoided.
To cutThe paper button does not have to be cut.
overwinterThe plant is annual and is disposed of in autumn. Wintering is not necessary. The plants are perennial in their native Australia alone.

Detect and fight diseases and pests

The paper button is rarely infected by diseases and pests.

If the flowers hang their heads for no apparent reason, this could indicate an infestation with a mold. If the plants are affected by mold, this can be recognized by a whitish layer that covers the leaves. The formation of mold is mostly due to maintenance errors.

" Tip: The main causes of mold growth are high air humidity and a location that is too humid.

If the irrigation water cannot drain, the substrate will start to mold due to overwatering. This is particularly common when the paper buttons are planted in the tub and there is little substrate available. The mold spores then spread extremely quickly and cover the substrate and the planter, like a net. All infected plant parts must be removed immediately. If the mold is already well advanced, only chemical pesticides will help. However, this should be carefully considered because it is an annual plant. In this case, disposal would be more environmentally friendly.

Risk of mildew

If the plants appear to be covered with a flour-like coating, a particularly stubborn mold has taken possession of the paper button. Powdery mildew is a “fine weather fungus”. Warm temperatures in combination with high air humidity offer powdery mildew the ideal habitat. If it is dry over a longer period of time, this will not bother the plant much, since the paper button feels more comfortable in a dry soil than with prolonged moisture. However, the leaves have a hard time developing fully in hot and dry summers. If there is an onset of rain, the fungal spores find an ideal entry point.

If the mealy covering is visible, the hobby gardener should act immediately so that the fungus does not spread any further.

Home remedies for powdery mildew:

  • Spray the infected parts of the plant with milk
  • Spray the infected plant parts with field straw broth
  • Spray the infected plant parts with garlic brew
  • Spray the infested parts of the plant with rain tea

The tinctures should be used on a dry day if possible, otherwise the rain would quickly wash off the active ingredient. Spray the plant generously, preferably on the parts of the plant infested with mildew. A single application is usually not enough. The plants should be treated several times a week until the characteristic white coating is no longer visible.

How can mildew be prevented?

Choose a protected location so that the moisture in the plant cannot become clogged. The paper buttons should not be planted too tightly. The plant can develop much better if a planting distance of at least 30 centimeters is maintained. Furthermore, the leaves dry faster after the downpour and powdery mildew has no chance, especially if the location is sunny.

" Tip: Vigorous and healthy plants are less susceptible to disease. Provide a sunny location, loose soil and sufficient nutrients, this is the best prevention against diseases and pests.

Reasons for reduced growth

If the plants appear small and puny and hardly form flowers, this can have several causes. If the seeds are sown too early, for example, the seeds germinate only slowly. It is therefore advisable not to sow the paper button before April.

Other causes of reduced growth:

  • stand too dark
  • insufficient nutrients
  • too much water
  • not enough water

Caution when drying

The paper button is not only endangered in the bed. Even if the dried flowers are already arranged in bouquets or arrangements, it can happen that putrefaction occurs. You have not shown enough patience when drying. If the flowers are not completely dry, they will not last for a long time. The damp stems start to rot.