Cerinthe, Pride of Gibraltor by Renee's Garden
Hummingbird Cerinthe: Pride of Gibraltar
EXCLUSIVE - Cerinthe, featured at Sissinghurst Castle in England, is actually a native of the Greek Islands. This hard to find annual is decidedly a favorite in plant lovers’ circles. These fascinating and unusually-colored plants have indigo-violet bells rimmed in white that dangle gracefully from bronzy-blue bracts above rounded gray-green leaves. They make a show-stopping color accent in the garden or as cut flowers for indoor arrangements.
TO START OUTDOORS
In spring, once all danger of frost is past, sow seed directly where plants are to grow in ordinary well-drained soil in full sun. In mild climates, Cerinthe can also be sown in fall for spring blooms. Poke the large seeds into the soil about 3⁄4 inch deep and 4 to 6 inches apart and firm soil gently over them.
TO START EARLY INDOORS
Start seeds indoors in 4 inch pots about 4 to 6 weeks before last frost date. Keep moist, but not soggy and provide a strong light source. Once seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall, acclimate to outdoor conditions and transplant into a sunny spot, in well-drained garden soil. Thin or transplant seedlings 8 to 12 inches apart. Avoid disturbing seedling roots.
Cerinthe prefers full sun, but can take dappled shade, although plants will be more rangy in habit. Be patient; plants are undistinguished until they come into bloom. By late spring, the dramatic blue bracts will turn more purple at the tips, then the clusters of purple bells trimmed with a white edge unfurl. Grow near pastel cleome or cosmos for an exciting color contrast.