Cheiranthus – Wallflower

Deservedly popular, these late spring and early summer evergreens are perfect for beds, borders and containers. They are free flowering, have a heady scent and come in a wide range of beautiful colours.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in a sunny position in well-drained soil. Protect from cold winter winds or they may be damaged and flowering may be affected.

Cultivation and care. Because they deteriorate with age wallflowers are usually treated as biennials, planted in autumn for spring flowering. Pinch out tips when plants are 15cm – 6in to encourage a bushy shape.

Propagation. Sow seeds in late spring or early summer in an open seed bed, planting in flowering position in autumn. Take cuttings from varieties such as ‘Harpur Crewe’ after flowering.

Recommended varieties. C. cfwiri has very fragrant, colourful flowers with tall, medium and dwarf varieties. Tall varieties (height 60cm – 24in) include ‘Blood Red’ (deep red), ‘Cloth of Gold’ (golden yellow) and ‘Rose Queen’ (rose pink). Intermediate types (45cm – 18in) include the Fair Lady series (a mixture of colours), ‘Primrose Monarch’ (primrose yellow) and ‘Ivory White’ (cream). The dwarf Tom Thumb series (20cm – 8in) come in a range of colours. C. x aUionii (height 38cm – 15in) is known as the Siberian wallflower and has slightly flatter flowerheads than the ordinary wallflower.

Pests and diseases. A number of fungal disorders can affect wallflowers but they are generally trouble free.


Plant wallflowers where you will most appreciate their fragrance. They are happy in very poor soils so you can grow them in wide cracks in paving or walls, and next to the walls of the house – for instance, under a window or beside the front door.

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