Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'

Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' (Honeywort) has silvery leaves with purple hanging bells, one of the best annual foliage plants. I absolutely love this and it gently Self-sows, so you never need buy it again. More
10 seedlings, for spring planting 510105-10 £8.95
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12 seeds 020010 £1.95 Buy 2+ at £1.62 each In stock
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5 seedlings, for spring planting 510105-5 £5.95
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Or buy this as part of our Calendula, Cerinthe and Euphorbia SPECIAL OFFER and Hardy Annual Cutting Patch Collection.

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Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' (Honeywort) has silvery leaves with purple hanging bells, one of the best annual foliage plants. I absolutely love this and it gently Self-sows, so you never need buy it again.

It's superb as a garden plant and cut flower and absolutely loved by butterflies and bees – hence its common name.

If you sear the stems in boiling water for 30 seconds it will last longer as a cut flower.

Genus Cerinthe major
Variety Purpurascens
Type Hardy Annual
Common Name Honeywort
Border Position Middle, Front
Soil Type Fertile, Neutral
Scent Unscented
Site Full Sun, Shelter
Moisture Well-drained
Height 45-60cm (18-24in)
Spacing Spread 60cm (24in), thin to 30-40cm (12-15in)
Sowing, Seeds, Planting Tough coated seeds, best soaked for 12 hours and then sown under cover in mid spring or late summer.
Care Tips Can be grown in container pots. Will self-sow. Hardy annuals can withstand a touch of frost and can be sown/planted straight into the ground in the autumn and will keep through the winter without protection. In colder areas you may wish to cover seedlings or keep in a cold frame/ unheated greenhouse.
Flowering June - September, 12 weeks from spring sowing
Vase Life 7-10 days. When sappy in spring, sear stem ends in boiling water for 20 seconds.
Harvesting Flower production: 2-3 months.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  • Sow Under Cover/Plant Indoors
  • Direct Sow/Plant Outdoors
  • Flowers/Harvest
Advice & Videos
Sarah's weekly blog: Chelsea day 1

Heading off to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press Day early this morning...

Sowing flowers in late summer

 Sarah shows how to sow flowers in late summer for more beautiful plants next spring.


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Seeds Delivery - Items will be despatched in 2-3 working days.

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Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' reviews

* * * * * Average based on 4 reviews
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Bees love it

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Reviewed 4th May 2016 by Liz Leyden

At first I was nervous as the seedlings seemed very floppy and took several weeks to 'perk up', but once they straightened and bloomed, they lasted until very late October, and the bees absolutely loved them, they made an unusual sound when inside the 'bells'. Buying again this year. Highly recommend for their unusual appearance and bee appeal.

Easy and striking

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Reviewed 15th June 2015 by Cat Lawton

This is the first year I have ever grown honeywort, never having seen it except in Sarah Raven pics. I decided to plant all of my seeds and every single one germinated. I've never had much skill with growing from seed but these have been easy and successful, despite my inconsistent care. It is quite unusual and the dainty purple flowers against the glaucous foliage are beautiful together.

I have taken my first cut flower today and paired it with some blooms from the creamy apricot Crocus rose. They are suberb together, and I am a quite in love with this plant now.

Cerinthe Major

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Reviewed 5th May 2015 by Jean Hughes

Not had this in my garden in a number of years then one suddenly pops up in February. By the end of March it was huge and in flower by the front door.
May the 2nd today it is in full flower and about 4ft. By 4ft and a thick main stem.
Hoping for many seedlings from this.. It is glorious.

Cerinthe major

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Reviewed 3rd July 2014 by joyce

local vet gave me a few seeds,they came up every year for 14 yrs missed last year popped up one very large plant this year,so am saving and sharing out lots of seeds.Never tried as cut flower ,but will give it a go next year.Can reccomend trying it if you like something unusual