This beautiful highly versatile, aristocratic border plant has become very much in vogue in recent years. It has oval, fleshy blue-green leaves, mottled with white, spiral up the stem, transforming themselves into tighter packed, sea blue bracts - and then the finale - small clusters of rich purple/blue tubular, nodding flowers, which are cream inside and adored by bees. Heat tolerant throughout the summer and hardy down to at least -5*C (23*F). Cooler nights in autumn produce an even deeper blue colour.
In certain parts of England, Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' is said to be solidly hardy and evergreen to boot. (You may wish to give them some protection during hard winters) Elsewhere, Cerinthe major behaves as an annual, it will politely drop its large pea sized seeds throughout late summer and early autumn and will grow in and around the same patch for quite some years. The resultant seedlings will mean that it rarely disappears.
Sometimes referred to as 'Blue Kiwi' and 'Pride of Gibraltar', the Blue Shrimp Plant is one of the most asked about plants in our garden. Growing to approximately 18 to 24 inches tall, this rare “heirloom” variety is a subtle but beautiful plant that is very easy to grow. It has the additional benefit of being slug resistant
Sowing: Sow early to late spring indoors or direct in mid to late spring
Sow in January to March, normally 4 to 8 weeks before planting outside. Sow at 1.5mm (1/16in) deep in pots or trays in a good seed compost. Make sure the compost is moist but not wet and seal inside a polythene bag until germination which usually takes 5 to 21 days at 21C (70F).
The seed can also be sown directly where it is to flower in March to April. Prepare the area well, sow to a depth of 3mm (1/8in).
Transplant the seedlings when large enough to handle, spacing them 5cm (2in) apart.Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost 15cm (6in) apart in full sun and ordinary well-drained soil.
City/Courtyard Gardens, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flowers Borders and Beds or Patio/Container Plants.
The genus is originally from the Mediterranean region. The name Cerinthe comes from the Greek word keros—wax, and anthos—a flower. It was considered an important nectar source for honeybees, it was also thought that bees obtained wax from the flowers.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 12 Seeds Family Boraginaceae Genus Cerinthe Species major Cultivar Purpurascens Common Name Blue Shrimp Plant, Honeywort, Blue Wax Flower Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers Clusters of rich purple/blue tubular, nodding flowers, Natural Flower Time Late Spring thru to Late Summer Foliage Oval, fleshy blue-green leaves, mottled with white, Height 45-60cm (18-24in) Spread 60cm (24in) Position Full Sun to Light Shade Soil Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline Time to Sow Early to late spring indoors or direct in mid to late spring Germination 5 to 21 days