Cerinthe major var. purpurescens
A colour sensation all summer
Honeywort has lovely sea blue-jade-silver leaves spiralling up the 60cm. stems. Clusters of rich, deep purple/blue bells nod away on top all summer and autumn, after starting in the spring.
The whole ensemble is a colour sensation that should not be missed.
And the waxy, lush texture as well as the unique colour makes a perfect contrast to other green companions.
“Once seen-must have”
It is a “Once seen-must have”.situation for enchanting Cerinthe major var. purpurescens Honeywort.
It is one of the most coveted plants in our garden for visitors.
Fortunately once you have it – you need never be without it. This self seeding annual reliably self seeds, yet is not invasive.
It will happily pop around between the roses or fill in the gaps in your flower beds.
Cut stems till winter for lovely vases of flowers
The strong waxy stems are perfect for cut flowers, and last long in your vase. Prepare the cut flowers by singeing the ends with a flame, or dipping in hot water before putting in the cool vase water.
Revels in heat & dry
Honeywort revels in sun. As a native of Greece and Italy, it takes summer heat, and some periods of dry in its stride.
It is best grown a little lean and mean to produce the most flowers and dazzling coloured foliage. Because too much rich soil, fertilizer, and water will make growth at the expense of flowers and that amazing colour.
Not fussy & water-wise
It can also tolerate Part Shade if needed.
Happy in any well drained soil, including sandy soils and average garden soil. Suitable for seaside gardens, as the waxy texture resists salt. However will not tolerate being waterlogged or boggy.
A water-wise choice. Normal average garden watering is bliss for a Cerinthe.
Bounces away in either acid or alkaline lime soils, and really appreciates a dressing of lime when you do the roses.
A jaunty grower that is generally pest and disease free.
– Height with flowers: 60cm.
– Width: Arching 60cm.
– Position: Full Sun or Partial Shade.
– Soil: Not fussy.
– Frost: Hardy in even severe frosts. Although the parent plant dies away in the frost, the seedling babies grow during the winter ready to put on their waxy show as the season warms.
– Growth: Self seeding annual.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bee’s, butterflies and small honey-eating birds are besotted by the waxy bells for their abundant nectar.
– Care: Bone easy and low maintenance.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Sadly not immune to nibbles, but happily will always start from seed again.
– Origin: Native to southern Italy and Greece, where it grows in open areas, including rocky outcrops.
– Myths & Legends: The name Cerinthe comes from the Greek word “keros” for wax and “anthos” for flower, since traditional village beekeepers thought their bees got wax for their hives from the flowers.