Matthiola Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Matthiola plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Stock, Gillyflower, & Perfume Plant: Cultivation & Garden Use

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

They can be either hardy annuals, biennials or perennials.

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

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 pleasant aroma.

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

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

Commonly Grown Matthiola Plant species

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.

Commonly Grown Matthiola Species

Matthiola longipetala

Matthiola longipetala
Matthiola longipetala (Night-scented stock / Evening stock), photograph by Patrick Alexander; CC.

Matthiola fruticulosa

Matthiola fruticulosa
Matthiola fruticulosa (Sad stock / Dark-flowered stock), picture by jacinta lluch valero; CC.

Matthiola sinuata

Matthiola sinuata
Matthiola sinuata (Sea stock), Image by Val Def; CC.

Matthiola odoratissima

Matthiola odoratissima title=
Matthiola odoratissima (Persian Stock), photograph by Vitaliy Rudenko; CC 4.0.

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.

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 plant 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. Biennials stock should be started off in the summer.

It usually takes around one to three weeks for plants to germinate. Ideally 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.

Common Questions

How many members does the Matthiola genus have?

The Matthiola genus includes around 50 species.

Do members of Matthiola make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Matthiola species are valued for their sweetly scented, colorful flowers. They're excellent in borders and as cut flowers.

Which Matthiola species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Matthiola incana (Stock) is frequently grown for its fragrant, colorful blooms.

Are members of the Matthiola plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Matthiola incana is renowned for its sweet, clove-like fragrance, especially in the evening.

What is the perfect location to grow Matthiola?

Matthiola prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It's tolerant of coastal conditions, making it a good choice for seaside gardens.

Is Matthiola invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Matthiola is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Matthiola plants from my garden?

Matthiola can be removed by pulling or digging up the plants, including the root system. As it's often grown as an annual, controlling its spread can also be achieved through not allowing it to reseed. Regularly monitor your garden for any new seedlings and remove them promptly. Additionally, you can consider applying mulch or a weed barrier to prevent the germination of Matthiola seeds.


The Matthiola genus, or stock plants, belong to the mustard family. These annual or biennial plants are valued for their fragrant, colorful blooms, enhancing gardens, containers, and cut flower arrangements.

For best results, plant Matthiola in a sunny location with well-drained soil, usually in spring or fall. They like a regular watering schedule but can tolerate short dry periods. To encourage more blooms, it's a good idea to remove faded flowers.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Matthiola plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Ionopsidium and Crambe plants.