With its tall pink stems, purple loosestrife adorns water edges. It also boosts our well-being with its medicinal properties. Dive deep into the benefits of Lythrum salicaria and check out our growing tips!
→ Similar, but different: Astilbe
Purple loosestrife: Lythrum salicaria
This perennial thrives in damp environments. You’ll often find it near water. It grows to about 3 feet (1 meter) high. With lance-shaped green leaves running along its stem, its underside is lighter than the tips.
Above these upright stems filled with leaves, flowery spikes emerge. Blooming starts in June and runs through to October, keeping gardens lively all season long!
Producing nectar and honey, it serves as a feast for pollinating insects.
Health benefits of purple loosestrife
This plant boasts anti-infective, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and astringent benefits.
It can also boost blood insulin levels, making it a diabetes remedy. Externally, it aids healing.
How to consume purple loosestrife?
As a decoction:
For diarrhea, prepare up a decoction using 0.35 ounces (10 grams) of dried salicaria. Mix the plant with 1 quart (1 liter) of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, then let it steep as it cools. It’s best to drink two to three cups daily.
In liquid extract:
This time, dilute 50 drops in a glass of water. Repeat thrice daily for up to two days.
Apply powder directly to wounds or ulcers struggling to heal.
Growing Lythrum salicaria in your garden
Ever dreamed of a beautiful plant that thrives in a wet substrate or even waterlogged soil? If you’ve got a stream or pond close by, this plant is the perfect pick.
- While it loves rich soil, it doesn’t much like acidic pH.
As for sun exposure, whether you have a spot in full sun or partial shade, it’s all the same to your purple loosestrife.
So how do you plant your newly-bought nursery pots? What matters is to keep plants about 20 inches (50cm) apart. Generally, planting many in a wide patch gives you a dense and blossoming carpet of beauty.
- Plant in rows, but offset the rows and space them a little more randomly to give it a more natural feel.
- Dig a hole a tad larger than your plant’s root ball, toss in some compost if your soil is poor, fill it back up, and press down.
- Last but not least, give it a good drink of water to ensure roots feel right at home.
Every spring, it’ll be grateful for a good dose of compost or slow-release fertilizer. As blooms wilt away, snip off the flower spikes to avoid unscheduled reseeding.
Propagation: seeds or division?
Once the first frost hits, it’s seed collecting time. You’ll have to stratify them during winter to make sure they sprout in spring.
- Give them a good soaking in lukewarm water for 48 hours.
- After softening, place them between layers of moist sand. Pop them in a pot (or in a section of your root vegetable silo) and keep it to the north side of the house during fall (cooler with more stable temperatures).
This is called stratification, simulating winter to ensure robust sprouting. Come next spring, you’re good to sow those seeds once temperatures rise above 59°F (15°C).
There’s also another way: just divide its clump. Pull a plant out, split it in half with a spade, and voilà! You’ve got two new plants. Best done in spring.