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Kochia growing and care

K(caps)ochia (Kochia scoparia) is a summer season annual plant which belongs to the family Chenopodiaceae. It is native to South France, Eastward to Japan. The annual is named as Kochia  after W.D.J. Koch, who was a professor of botany at Erlangen, Germany. Kochia is known  by other vernacular names such as Summer Cypress, Mock Cypress Burning Bush and Belvedere. The plant foliage colour is pea green which can turn into rich copper-red at maturity. Kochia is grown as an ornamental foliage plant in pots, flower beds, home gardens, edge and screen. It is also grown as fodder in the field. Plant requires low water and can thrive well under drought conditions and alkaline soil.

Kochia seed sowing and nursery raising 

To raise  kochia Seedling, 15 cm raised and 100 cm wide nursery beds are prepared and 10 to 20 gram seeds per square metre are sown on the raised nursery bed. The seeds are covered with compost and a sand (1:1) mixture layer of 1 cm thick. A thin layer of hay or straw is spread over the nursery bed followed by water spraying. The water spraying is done to maintain moisture for seed germination. The 10 to 15 days after seeds sowing, seeds germinate, the hay is removed to ensure sunlight to plants. The seeds are sown at the end of January to mid of February.

Kochia transplanting and care

The 30 to 40 days old seedlings are transplanted in the flower bed at 30 to 40 cm distance or one seedling in a pot of 25 cm size. Five kg compost or farm yard manure (FYM) and 100 gram nitrogen per square metre area is incorporated in case of flower bed while 2 kg FYM, 25 gram nitrogen and 25 gram lime per pot is mixed with pot soil. The transplanting of seedlings is done during February-March. Transplanting is followed by watering to plants. Weeding and light irrigation are required during growth of the kochia and water stagnation can cause wilting of the whole kochia plant therefore proper drainage should be maintained in the bed as well as in pots. 

Care of kochia in pots

Incorporation of lime increases the pH of pot soil thereby  providing congenial conditions to the kochia plant . Always give very light irrigation and  keep the bottom hole of the pot  unplugged to ensure proper drainage of excess water, if any.

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