The genus Androsaceaa includes about forty species of perennial alpine plants, widespread in Europe, Asia and North America, generally at altitudes above 1500 m. Usually the plants of this genus, such as the Androsace villosa, constitute small bushes, 7-10 cm high, densely branched, with small oval, pointed leaves, often covered by a thick whitish down.
The stems of the plant are thin and reddish in color, very branched and also pubescent. They all carry globular leaves at the base that form beautiful rosettes, leaves bearing.
In late spring they produce numerous small flowers, single or bunched, with 5 petals, white or light pink.
The flowers subsequently turn into fruits, globose capsules containing few seeds that ripen by autumn and are dropped from the plant.
They are widely used in rock gardens, where the ground cover is used to create patches of compact vegetation, even on dry stone walls.
In general, Androsace villosa plants need places exposed to the south or east, with good brightness and exposure to the sun, but possibly with the root system in the shade, especially in the hottest months of the year; they do not need winter protection because they love cold climates, and can withstand very harsh temperatures. Some species, such as A. septentrionalis, Androsace villosa and Androsace glacialis, need shady and cool locations, very well ventilated, for the spring and summer months; the other species, A. carnea, A, lanuginosa or A. sarmentosa, are of simpler cultivation, and better withstand the summer heat, although good ventilation and partial shading are necessary.
androsace can withstand even long periods of drought, but it is good to supply water to the roots regularly, from March to October; the proximity of stones can facilitate cultivation, guaranteeing the presence of a greater quantity of humidity. In winter it is good not to water the plants, it would be better to place them away from water, especially as regards the more delicate species. They do not like excess fertilizing, therefore supplying fertilizer for flowering plants, from March to October, every 30-40 days.
These small plants need a fairly rich, very well drained soil, consisting of peat, sand and incoherent material; generally they settle in the cracks of the walls or in the rock gardens, they do not need large amounts of land to develop.
In nature it is easy to find these plants in rocky limestone areas and in meadows rich in debris and stones ranging from 1000 to 2500 meters.
The creeping stems tend to root when they touch the ground, it is possible to take portions of them after flowering and develop them in containers to be kept in a shady place; in summer it is possible to sow in seed beds to keep wet and away from sunlight. The new plants will be planted when they have developed a vigorous root system.
Androsace villosa: Pests and diseases
In excessively hot and poorly ventilated places they can be attacked by mites and aphids. The tender leaflets often attract snails.