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How to Grow Matthiola Plants

Guide to Growing Stock, Gillyflower & Perfume Plant

The Matthiola plant genus comprises of bush plants that reach heights of between 30 and 75 cm (12 to 30 inches).

They can be either hardy annuals, biennials or perennials.

Flowering is from the end of spring through summer. The plants carry thickly clustered flowers of red, purple, bluem or white that sit atop a spike.

In addition to their attractive looking flowers, Matthiola are also grown for their pleasent aroma.

Some of the common names for Matthiola include Stock, Evening stock, Brompton stock, Gillyflower, and Night Scented stock.

Matthiola incana
Matthiola incana - Hoary Stock by Phil Sellen, Creative Commons.

Matthiola longipetala
Matthiola longipetala - Evening Scented Stocks by Greengardenvienna, CC.

How to grow Stock, and other Matthiola Plants in the Garden

When growing stock outdoors from seeds, you should sow on the surface following the last frost of spring.

Alternatively in mild areas you can do autumn sowing of stock, this will result in spring blooms the following year.

Stock likes to grow in sunny areas of the garden that have good drainage, and a slightly alkaline and moist soil.

You can start to grow Stock indoors first. The annual and perennial varieties of Matthiola should be started about 7 or 8 weeks before the last frost of spring, whereas biennials stock should be started off in the summer.

It takes around one to three weeks for plants to germinate. Ideally the Matthiola Plants should be sown in vermiculite and watered from below. They will germinate if grown in the light at a temperature of 12 to 18 degrees centigrade (53 to 64°F).

Once ready, transplant annual and perennial stock out to the garden in mid spring or autumn. Transplant biennial stock in the autumn.

They should be spaced from 15 to 45 cm (6 to 18 inches) apart, depending upon the stock variety.

Caring for Stock - Matthiola plants

Matthiola Care: Once established in the garden, pinch the young stock (Matthiola) plant shoots back to encourage taller growth.

It is best to have the plants located close together to increase the amount of blooming.

Matthiola plants are easy to look after, water regularly and feed once a month.

If you require more plants then the perennials can be propagated by taking cuttings in the summer.

Commonly Grown Matthiola Plants

Matthiola incana

Matthiola incana Photograph

Matthiola incana 'Harmony Purple' photograph by 阿橋 HQ CC.

Matthiola bicornis

Matthiola bicornis Seedlings

Foliage of Matthiolabicornis plant seedlings, photograph by Salicyna, CC.

Matthiola Growing Video

Matthiola Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Stock, Brompton stock, Perfume Plant, Gillyflower, . Stock: Annual; Hoary; Tenweeks; Evening; Night scented; Sad; Sea.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual, hardy annual. Hardy biennial. Hardy perennial.
Height: 10 to 40 inches (25 to 100 cm).
Native: Mediterranean, Asia, Southern Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 2 to 10. UK Hardiness: H4 (-10°C / 14°F)
Blooms: Spring and summer.
Flower Details: Red, white, blue, violet, purple, pink. Clustered. Raceme. Spikes. Fragrant.
Foliage: Lanceolate. Silvery-green.
Sow Outside: Surface. Following last frost or in autumn (warm areas). Spacing 6 to 20 inches (15 to 50 cm).
Sow Inside:
Annuals and perennials: vermiculite. Water from below. Germination time: three days to three weeks. Temperature 60 to 65°F (16 to 18°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost in cool areas or in the autumn in warm areas.
Biennials: Vermiculite. Water from below. Germination time: three days to three weeks. Temperature 60 to 65°F (16 to 18°C). Start off in summer. Transplant outdoors in the autumn.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Cool temperature. Good drainage. Soil pH 7 to 8. Rich soil. Moist soil. Monthly feed. Propagate perennials: cuttings in the summer.
Family: Brassicaceae.
Closely related plants: Sweet Alyssum; Dame's Rocket; Wallflowers; Cauliflower Plants; and Violet Cress.


Garden Plants Common Name Index

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