Plant Pick – Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve
I always feel that some plants get a bad rep. Maybe it’s just me, by Erysimum doesn’t always seem that ‘cool’ when compared to the decadent blooms of lilies and roses, the structural delights of alliums and eryngiums or the beautiful foliage of ferns and heucheras. Like many plants, it’s not a specimen for all gardens and it certainly has more of a cottage garden appeal than a formal Italian or avant-garde urban chic design. But, whatever you may say about this plant, you cannot take away the fact that it offers one of the best and longest flowering seasons.
Erysismum is certainly a plant that keeps giving. From it’s first blooms which I’ve known to appear as early as April and May, it will continue to flower well into the early frosts of autumn. Yes, it gets a little straggly and yes it can grow to cover an immense area but a little pruning and deadheading is all is takes to keep this member of the wallflower family thriving and in shape. It’s easy to grow, needs very little maintenance to keep flowering and, especially if you’ve got a starter garden and need some quick and colourful coverage, will fill gaps quickly.
I find it such a strong grower that I normally only leave plants in for a year before pulling them out. Unless you keep plants well pruned (a state in which they won’t offer their full flowering glory) the stems can get very woody. You could cut them back in the winter but being so easy to propogate I tend to throw old plants out and start afresh with cuttings. Anyone who knows me will know that actually throwing plants out is a sin in my book, so the ease of which Erysimum grows must be something!
With great purple colour, an awesome attractor of pollinators, a full year of blooms and easy growing in both pots and borders, this is a fantastic specimen for all gardens. And who cares about it’s ‘cool’ appeal when it’s almost a guaranteed success, greenfingers or not.
Name: Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve
Thrives In: Full sun, but will tolerate some shady aspects as long as it can get sunlight at some point during the day.
Yearly Care: Can be a hardy variety. Can prune back in winter, lifting and keeping in a frost free location if necessary. Better still, take cuttings and store in greenhouses or windowsills over winter before planting out the following season.
Growing Medium: Poor to fertile, alkaline or neutral soil.
Quick Tip: Don’t try and over winter mature specimens. Simply take cuttings during the year to ensure new hardy plants to pop into borders and pots the following season. Plant in threes for a huge splash of colour throughout the spring, summer and early autumn months.