This magnificent strain contains a wide range of colours varying from red, pink, rose and white to yellow, and the imperial spikes of blooms give an air of stately splendour.
It is one of the finest background plants for the border that we know and is equally effective when grown in small groups.
Try crystallising the flowers for a tasty cake decoration, or use them to make a delicately flavoured syrup to use with puddings.
Sowing months: February – March / July - August
Flowering months: July - August
Sow on the surface of a good seed compost in late winter. Make sure that the compost is moist but not wet and seal in a polythene bag until after germination which usually takes 12-21 days at 15-21C (65-70F). Do not exclude light which is beneficial to germination.
They can also be sown in mid-summer in shallow drills overwintered in a coldframe and planted out in spring 60cm (24in) apart. This produces larger plants.
Transplant when large enough to handle into 8cm (3in) pots and grow on in cooler conditions. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost 38cm (15in) apart.
Position: full sun
Height: up to 240cm (94.5in)
Spread: up to 60cm (23.6in)
Hardiness & longevity: hardy annual
Ideal for: cottage gardens
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