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Cerinthe Major Purpurascens

Cerinthe Major Purpurascens.  Also known as Honeywort, this unusual annual bears rounded, blue-green leaves on slender, upright stems. From late spring onwards masses of nodding, rich purple flowers, surrounded by blue-purple bracts appear at the stem tips, which are highly attractive to bees. With a bushy habit, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a fantastic addition to annual beds or used to fill gaps in herbaceous borders, where it is happy in any well drained soil.

Height: 60cm (24″). Spread: 45cm (18″). 

Sow

February – May or September – October

Flowers

May – August

How to Sow

Sow Cerinthe indoors from February to May. Sow seed in a good quality compost at a depth of 1.5mm (1/16″), and cover with a light sprinkling of vermiculite. Place the seed tray in a propagator at a temperature of 18-20C (64-68F) or seal it inside a polythene bag. Keep the soil damp but not wet. Do not exclude light as this aids germination which usually takes 5-21 days.  When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into 7cm (3″) pots and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors. When Cerinthe plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7 to 10 days. Transplant outdoors in full sun in any moist, well drained soil at a distance of 30cm (12″) apart.  Alternatively, direct sow Cerinthe seeds outdoors where they are to grow from April to May (or September to October for flowers in the following year). Choose a position in full sun on well drained soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Sow seeds thinly, at a depth of 3mm (1/8″). Water the ground regularly, especially during dry periods. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 30cm (12″) apart.

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