But many plants that are beautiful and popular are also difficult, and lady’s rocket is no different. This species spreads rapidly and quickly naturalizes in meadows and forests. It is often considered invasive.
Let’s talk about this mare olde plant in more detail. If you keep it under control, you can also use the “Queenes autoflowers”!
Quick Maintenance Guide
All About Hesperis Matronalis
Ladies rocket is originally from Europe and Asia and has spread all over the world. It is often seen here in North America as an annual garden and as a wildflower.
Technically, it is a tender perennial or a biennial. This species usually survives for two years. In the first year, it develops its structure and foliage, the roots spread under the ground. But in the second year it begins to bloom, and it easily sows itself during this year. All plants that survive a third year will also be able to bloom.
That way, once it has settled in a garden, you will see flowers every year. In hot weather, the plant produces a sweet and unique aroma, which becomes stronger by the evening. This fragrance is attractive and is part of the plant’s popularity.
The lady rocket branches quickly and can reach a height of about 3 to 4 feet and extend to about 18 inches wide. The leaves are slightly pubescent and form on short stems. Wedge-shaped, these leaves may develop a slightly serrated edge towards the base of the plants, but remain smooth-edged higher on the plant stem.
The leaves also have an additional advantage. Although slightly bitter, they are edible. This is probably partly where the term “rocket” began to be applied to Hesperis matronalis. Arugula is a related species, and since it is also called Rocket, its name probably originated there.
Flowering occurs from after spring to summer, usually in May and June. This is a short period when purple or white flowers with four petals appear. Similar in appearance to phlox, these rocket flowers are about half a centimeter in diameter and create a riot of colors throughout the plant. Some cultivated forms produce double-layered flowers, but most are a single flower with four petals.
Is The Lady Rocket Invasive?
The lady rocket’s growth habits have been described as “explosive”. Although they do not spread afterally, self-placed pods should be removed before they dry completely to prevent further development.
The easiest way to stop the spread is to remove the used flowers before they start to form these pods. But you need to take a closer look, because it can still bloom during the formation of pods!
If it has already begun to take over, you should remove the entire tap root to prevent an invasive rocket plant from growing back. While the rest of the root system is easy to remove, this taproot can get quite deep, so be prepared to dig a little if it gets out of hand.
Women’s Rocket Care
Besides being a bit invasive, the lady rocket is surprisingly easy to maintain. Let’s take a look at the best conditions to guarantee success!
Light and temperature
Full sun is perfect for these plants if you are in a cooler climate, but those that are warmer may want to provide partial shade in the afternoon to protect their plant. It grows well in zones 3-9. Much of North America falls into the lady’s rocket growth range!
Aim for a minimum of six hours of sun as much as possible. It does not burn, the more it is better.
This species is not frost-resistant. Sowing after the peril of Frost has completely passed. He prefers a temperature range of 70 to 85 degrees for better growth.
Water and humidity
Constant watering of about an inch a week in non-rainy weather is the best way to maintain your lady’s rocket. Make sure that excess moisture flows freely, as moist soil can lead to root rot.
Although it tolerates extra moisture indoors, most outdoor plants do not need it as long as they are constantly sprayed. Adding mulch around your plants will also help retain moisture. Inside, provide a pebble bowl of water under your pots to action the dry conditions characteristic of a central air environment.
As long as the soil is well drained, Hesperis matronalis will grow there! It tolerates all types of soils, but works best in a mixture of sandy soil and loamy soil.
Also tolerant of several pH ranges, it can reach pH levels ranging from 5 to 8. Aim for a neutral range and everything should be fine.
You do not need to fertilize the female rocket. This plant needs only the slightest nutrition from the soil. Applying about an inch of compost around your plants once a year should provide plenty of fertilizer for their needs.
Reproduction of the lady’s rocket occurs from seeds. Most of the seeds of this species have a germination rate of about 70%, which means that 70% of the seeds will germinate.
Sprinkle your seeds lightly over the surface of the soil, adding just enough to cover them about twice their depth. Make sure that the potting soil remains moist, but not soaked. Place your pots in a sunny place, as they need a soil temperature range of 70 to 85 degrees to germinate.
Although it is possible to grow lady’s arugula from stem cuttings, they do not take root particularly well. Using a rooting hormone can help them produce better roots. Rooting hormone is widely available in garden stores in the United States.
Most of your pruning will be focused on keeping the plant pruned to a reasonable height and dead flowers or seed pods. At the end of summer, it is recommended to reduce it to a shorter height to avoid self-seeding.
Fleas love the flower and stems of the ladies ‘ arugula. Use a spray based on pyrethrin or spinosad to finish them, and take oil to prevent them.
Slugs and snails nibble on the leaves. An organic bait for snails and slugs will keep them away.
Mildew is not uncommon on the lady’s rocket. Neem oil is both a preventive agent and a treatment for this unpleasant problem.