Common name: Sea Lavender or Statice
These perennials can be found growing wild on the seacoast and salt marshes around the Mediterranean hence the common name.
Although it is a perennial it is best grown as a half-hardy annual in the UK.
They grow to around 500mm (18") high and the clusters / panicles of papery flowers appear from July till the first frosts.
The flowers may be blue lavender, white, orange, yellow, apricot, peach or rose-red, and sometimes they are bicolored.
Another attribute is that they can be dried for use as an everlasting cut flower in the home.
If drying them, pick them when they are in full bloom in order to capture the fullness of the colours.
To dry them, hang them upside down in a cool well ventilated shaded place such as a garden shed or garage until totally dry, then fetch them indoors and arrange them as required.
Even though these plants are natives of salt marshes and salty shorelines, they will flourish in any good well drained garden soil.
If and when they need watering let them dry out between waterings to reduce the potential for root rot.
Sow the seed thinly in pots/trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 16°C (60°F).
Germination should take three or four days.
Prick off the seedlings, when large enough to handle, into cell trays or boxes of potting compost.
Harden off the plants in a cold frame till planting out time.
Plant out 200-300mm (8"- 12") apart in well-drained soil in an open, sunny situation.
Cut the flower stems for drying when the flowers are fully open.
Tie the stems in bundles and hang them upside-down in a shaded, airy shed/garage.