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Asiatic dayflower is an herbaceous annual plant commonly known as ‘Widow’s Tears’ and ‘Whitemouth Dayflower’. It’s a highly popular plant due to its beautiful flowers and it’s also a herb with high medical value.
If you’re looking for an easy plant to grow that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, the dayflower could be the right choice for you. Here’s how to get started!
The dayflower (Commelina communis) was named so because its flowers bloom for only one day which is what makes this plant very unique. It’s a beautiful plant that creeps on the surface of the ground approximately 30cm to 90 cm in length. It can be grown upright with the support of other plants or the support given by the use of trellis.
Dayflowers have two large petals that resemble Mickey Mouse’s ears as they are bilaterally symmetrical and the leaves grow from about 8cm to 13 cm in length. The leaves are in huge quantities, and they grow densely.
The leaves and stems of the dayflower are fleshy, similar to succulents and even though they grow as creepers the tips of the plants have erect branches on which the flowers are to be found.
The dayflower is native to East Asia and the Northern parts of Southeast Asia. In China, they call it ‘yazhicao’ which means “duck foot herb” and in Japan, it is known as ‘tsuyukusa’ which means “dew herb”. It’s also found in various parts of Europe and North America, where it became a noxious weed as it can spread very fast, destroying the growth of other plants. These were first intentionally introduced for horticultural use as ornamental plants, but they then turned out to be invasive.
What are Dayflowers Used For?
Dayflowers are often used for culinary purposes since every part of the plant (except for the roots) is edible with or without cooking. It’s commonly used in salad dressings and has a sweet taste with a gelatinous consistency.
These flowers are also used for medicinal purposes mainly as a diuretic as they can eliminate excess fluid. They can be used as a gargle to relieve tonsillitis and sore throats as well.
Dayflower Care and Maintenance
The Asiatic dayflower is a very easy plant to maintain. It mostly grows in habitats that are partially shaded and grassy, cultivated fields, gardens, woodland borders, and along roadsides. You could see the blooms frequently in spring or fall. It grows best in USDA zones 6-9.
Asiatic dayflower plants grow well in fertile loamy soil (soil containing more decayed matter and less sand or clay in it). Make sure it is well-draining soil. Dayflowers can also be grown in pots or containers. You can re-pot the plant once a year or when it’s too big for its pot. These plants are less invasive when grown in pots or containers.
Dayflower plants love sunlight, but direct sunlight can dehydrate the plant and burn it. If you’re growing them indoors, place them on windowsills where you’ll find enough sunlight. These plants do not tolerate low light.
If you find that the leaves look dull colored, are short, and withered into yellow rolls, it usually means that the plant is not getting the right amount of light for growth. Make sure to keep it healthy by giving it adequate light and protecting it from direct sunlight.
Asiatic Dayflower plants with their slightly fleshy leaves and branches are well-adapted to thrive in drought, but they thrive in moist soil. Water just enough to make sure the soil is moist and then wait until it dries completely before watering it again. Be careful not to overwater it.
Your dayflowers will need some nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizer every two weeks or so. Discontinue the nitrogen fertilizer in autumn and use only the phosphorus and potassium fertilizer. You can stop fertilizing completely in the winter.
Asiatic dayflowers grow well in temperatures 18°C – 30°C. These plants find it difficult to thrive in cold frosts so you’ll need to take them indoors during winter when the temperature falls below 10°C.
When temperatures drop below 4°C, the plant enters the dormant stage where it stops growing and it can die if it gets any colder. If the plants are in your outdoor garden and cannot be moved indoors, you can even try covering them and opening them once every two days in the afternoon to allow them to breathe.
Dayflowers are a great choice for your garden, especially if you’re a novice gardener with little to no experience. All it takes is a little time and effort to maintain them and the result is definitely worth it!
1. Why is it called ‘dayflower’? The dayflower was given this name since its flowers are short-lived. They only bloom for a day.
2. Are dayflowers edible? The succulent stems, flowers, leaves, and immature dayflower seeds are edible. While they can be eaten raw, they’re also delicious steamed or stir-fried.
3. Are dayflowers toxic? No, dayflowers are not poisonous if ingested and exposure to the plant will not cause any type of reaction.
4. Where do dayflowers grow? Dayflowers are found growing in moist soil, edges of woods, thickets, roadsides, waste areas, shade, and partial shade.
5. Are dayflowers weeds? The dayflower is an ‘annual weed’. When mowed, it looks like grass and it’s an invasive plant that grows rapidly. However, some gardeners encourage the growth of these plants as a ground cover in woody, moist areas.
6. How do you get rid of dayflowers? The most effective way to get rid of dayflowers is to pull the plants out by hand. The best time to do this is when the soil is moist. If it’s too hard, the stems will break off, leaving the roots in the ground and they will just grow again. Try to remove the plants before they drop seeds.