What spring garden would be complete without a bed of delightful, sweet-scented Wallflowers, harbingers of warmer weather to come?
Erysimum cheiri (formerly Cheiranthus cheiri) “Ivory-White” is a fabulous, yet hard to find form. A compact variety with a bushy habit which is ideal for borders and edging. Beautiful as an underplanting to tulips and other spring bulbs, it could also be used in large containers.
This English cottage plant gives fragrant clusters of blooms from mid-spring and throughout summer. They are especially valuable because they bloom in the period between primroses and summer annuals.
With a rich fragrance that is most pronounced on a sunny day, they will supply the household with an abundance of cut flowers for many weeks. Extremely easy to grow and very rewarding, no flower is more delightful in early spring
Wallflowers, which along with similarly fragrant stocks, are called giroflées in French (literally, "clove-scented"), are widely grown as winter bedding plants and are found self-sown through many cottage gardens and their walls. That's where they get their English name of "wallflower": they love the sharp drainage of a little pocket of gritty soil in a stone wall.
That's a hint on how to grow wallflowers: give them excellent drainage, especially if you have clay soil. Mix some coarse sand and compost into the planting area. And give them full sun; wallflowers aren't meant for shade.
Cheiranthus prefer temperatures of 21°C (70°F) days and 10°C (50°F) nights and can flower in moderate heat at a maximum temperature of 27°C (80°F).
Plants require 70 to 80 days to flower from sowing and will start flowering when they are 10cm (4”) tall. Start in pots or sow direct in late summer (Mid August to Mid September).
Sow in late summer to early winter for spring flowering or late winter to early spring for autumn flowering.
Starting in Pots:
Surface sow in pots or containers containing good quality seed compost (John Innes or similar) Cover with a fine thin layer of compost or vermiculite.
The compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times. Seed germinate in seven to 10 days at 20°C (68°F).
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost.
Seeds may also be sown outdoors directly where they are to flower or in a reserve bed in a sheltered position. Prick out to 15cm (6in) apart and transplant in October.
Deadheading wallflowers prolongs their bloom, but let some of them go to seed. They are often generous self-sowers, or you can gather the seed and resow it yourself.
All parts of the plant are poisonous. specially the seeds. Plant contains Cheirotoxin that has similar but lesser toxic effects as Digitalis does...
Plant Uses: Plant in rock gardens, containers, beds, and borders.
They are pleasant by paths and doorsteps. Wallflowers will bloom all winter in a cool room in sunlight. They make good cut flowers, too.
Wallflowers look great interplanted with tulips, especially the lily-flowered types whose elegant forms contrast nicely with the mounded flower heads of the wallflowers.
Isn't it interesting that the cabbage family gives us some of our most fragrant florals, including not only wallflowers, but also garden stocks and the wonderful night-scented stock! While the vegetable branch of the family is rather smelly and malodorous, due to the high sulphur content of their leaves, the members grown for their flowers couldn't smell more bewitching. One of the innumerable mysteries of the garden... !
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 600 Seeds Family Brassicaceae Genus Erysimum (formerly Cheiranthus) Species cheiri (also spelt "cherii") Cultivar Ivory White Common Name English Wallflower Hardiness Hardy Biennial Flowers Ivory White in early spring throughout summer Height 40 to 45cm (15 to 18in) Spread 10 to 15cm (4 to 6in) Position Full sun Soil Average to dry Notes Tender Perennial, usually grown as a Biennial. Strong and sweet fragrance