Highly valued for its woolly grey foliage, 'Snow in Summer' lives up to its name in late spring and early summer when the foliage is smothered in luminous white flowers. The snowy white blooms begin in April, are at their liveliest through to June, when the flowers can almost hide the leaves. After the flowers fade, the silver-grey foliage shines on contrasting with all the shades of green in the garden.
Easily grown and widely adapted, this well-known 'carpeter' is a very useful groundcover, forming a mat of silver-grey leaves, usually only about six inches tall that are great for rock gardens or for poor, dry soil where other perennials struggle.
Beautiful used as a path edging or a lawn substitute for areas with light foot traffic. Plant it in pockets of a stone wall for a cascading effect, on steep slopes or cascading over the edges of containers.
Try planting it amongst your spring bulbs - tall lily flowering tulips above a dense carpet of white Cerastium… Breathtaking!
Sowing: Sow in February to June or in September to October
Surface sow the seeds from late winter to early summer on the top of a good free draining seed compost, (John Innes or similar) in cells or pots. Gently firm the seeds down, but do not cover as they need light to germinate.
Make sure the compost is moist and not wet and seal in a polythene bag until after germination which usually takes 14 to 21 days at 20°C (68°F). Remove the polythene bag once the first seedlings appear to allow air to circulate.
When seedlings are large enough to handle transplant and grow on in cooler conditions in a coldframe or unheated greenhouse. Once established, plant out in autumn or spring, 30 to 38cm (12 to 15in) apart.
Plant in a sunny position in light well drained soil. Snow-in-Summer will tolerate cold climates as well as desert heat (where it prefers light shade), as long as drainage is good, poor soil is easily accepted.
Very little care is needed except for the occasional weeding and a ‘hair cut’ in summer.
After they have dumped their "snowfall" of white blooms in early summer, trim away the faded blooms and some of the foliage to maintain a tidy habit. In larger areas, the foliage can also be mown on a high setting to about 5cm (2in.)
Remember, they are grown as much for the silvery carpet their foliage can provide as for their attractive flowers.
If plants wander, divide them spring or autumn, the shallow roots are easy to pull out.
Banks and Slopes, Ground cover, Rock Gardens, Border fronts, Edgings, Bulb cover, Dry stone wall planting pockets. Drought Tolerant, Gravel, Low Maintenance, Coastal Gardens
Cerastium tomentosum, pronounced sir-ASS-tee-um toe-men-TOE-sum, is part of the Caryophyllaceae family (the same as dianthus and carnations). This Italian introduction is native of the mountains of Sicily and Italy and ranges into western Asia.
The Greek translation of the word Cerastium refers to the horn-like shape of the seed capsules that some species of this Genus produce.
The species name tomentosum means “densely covered with matted wool or short hair” and refers to the woolly grey leaves.
It is almost universally known as Snow-in-Summer, but in some places it is called Mouse-eared Chickweed, after the furry leaves. This name, however, is more commonly applied to the similar but weedier C. vulgatum, despite that the gardened C. tomentosum is actually furrier & more mouse-ear-like. C. vulgatum is a Eurasian species that has become very invasive in many areas of Canada & the United States.
It is also known as Woolly mouse-ears, Dusty miller, Jerusalem star and Snow plant. Its French name Céraiste des Alpes tomentosum refers to its native habitat.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 250mg Average Seed Count 600 Seeds Family Caryophyllaceae Genus Cerastium Species tomentosum var. columnae Common Name Snow in Summer Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Early spring Height 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) Spread 60 to 75cm (23 to 29in) Position Full sun for best blooms, will grow in partial shade. Soil Prefers very well drained soil Time to Sow Sow in February to June or in September to October Germination 14 to 21 days at 20°C (68°F). Uses Banks and Slopes, Ground cover, Rock Gardens, Border fronts, Edgings, Bulb cover,
Dry stone wall planting pockets. Drought Tolerant, Gravel, Low Maintenance, Coastal Gardens.