Erysimum (Cheiranthus) cheiri 'Tom Thumb' is a fine strain of dwarf, compact plants which feature blooms in a wide spectrum of bright colours. This jaunty late-spring flower is ideal for bedding, borders, window boxes and patio containers.
They will drench the garden with a delicate, warm honey and Parma-violet fragrance that is guaranteed to cheer up the winter months and continue to supply the household with an abundance of cut flowers for many weeks thereafter.
With just a little protection from severe frost, you could have them in flower in your greenhouse from the end of autumn until spring. They are very easy to grow and very rewarding; they also respond beautifully to the sow and forget technique.
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 Tom Thumb Synonym Dwarf Wallflower Common Name Dwarf Wallflower, English Wallflower, Hardiness Hardy Biennial Flowers Early spring throughout summer Height 25-30cm (10-12in) Spread 10-15cm (4-6in) Position Full sun Soil Average to dry Notes Tender Perennial, usually grown as a Biennial. Strong and sweet fragrance