Catananche

Common name: Cupid's Dart

The Greeks and Romans reportedly used the flower as a key ingredient for powerful love potions,hence its common name.

It has since been proved it does not have such powers!

This theory also indicates that it origins lie in Mediterranean regions.

This short lived perennial is often grown as a biennial in the UK, once established they form large clumps.

The plants grow up to 750mm (30") high, and are suited to dry areas.

It requires free draining soil to survive UK winters.

Growing in containers can help to alleviate this problem.

Normally they are not troubled by pests and diseases although occasionally they may contract powdery mildew.

The lilac coloured corn flower like flowers with dark purple centres appear in early summer, and when fully open are often cut and dried for winter displays.

To do this tie the flowers into bunches and hang them in a cool, well-ventilated area to dry.

Cultivation:

Week 6: Seeds sown now at a temperature of 12°C (55°F) should flower in the same year.

Prick out when large enough to handle into 70mm (3") pots of potting compost and grow on in a cold frame until planting out time.

Week 17: If growing as a biennial sow seeds in trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 20°C (68°F).

Prick out when large enough to handle into 70mm (3") pots of potting compost and grow on in a cold frame until planting out time.

Week 20: Plant out in a sunny to partially shaded spot 400-500mm (16"-18") apart if growing as an annual.

Week 38: Similarly plant out in the same conditions if growing as a biennial.





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