CENTRANTHUS

A fine cottage garden plant which will thrive in any soil that does not become waterlogged in winter. It will grow readily from self-sown seed as the clumps colonising old walls clearly demonstrate. AnotheroutstandingfeatureofCentran-thus is its long flowering season from early summer to late autumn, although the plants are unfortunately short-lived. The small flowers are borne in clusters above the shiny, lance-shaped leaves; in autumn cut down the stems to ground level. An undemanding plant which anyone can grow.

VARIETIES: The basic species is C. ruber, pink-flowered, V/t ft high and in bloom from June to October. It is much better to buy one of the varieties. ‘Coccineus Catrococcineus’) is taller (2.5 ft) with bright crimson flowers. Set the plants about 2 ft apart. Another good variety is ‘Albiflorus’ (’Albus’), similar in size and shape to ‘Coccineus’ but bearing snow white flowers. The varieties ‘Coccineus’ and ‘Albiflorus’ are sometimes planted together.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives best in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in April or plant cuttings in a cold frame in spring.

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