Hesperis matronalis

Family: Brassiaceae

Countries: Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Europe, France, Italy, Turkey, Ukraine

Hesperis matronalis is a short lived perennial or biennial that’s often known as Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet.  These lovely plants are very easy to grow; they really are super plants to grow in your garden.  Hesperis matronalis are hardy throughout the UK and they’re also drought tolerant, too.  Plants will grow in any soil, apart from waterlogged soils; so avoid sowing these seeds on wet ground.  I’ve been growing these plants for many years; I’ve found that Hesperis matronalis plants are very versatile, they’ll flourish in both sunny and shaded sites.

If you want to grow Hesperis matronalisone year old plants or seedlings can be purchased from nurseries and garden centres, but it is very easy to grow these plants yourself from seed.  Don’t be daunted, you don’t need a glasshouse, a heater, or any fancy equipment to grow these seeds; they’re so easy to grow.  In the UK, we can sow Hesperis matronalis seed from May to July.  Seeds can be sown directly where you want your plants to flower or if your ground isn’t ready or you’re undecided on where to plant them, sow your Hesperis matronalis seeds in a seed tray filled with peat-free compostHesperis matronalis plants also make nice container plants; they thrive in planters filled with peat-free compost.

In their second year of growth, Hesperis matronalis plants produce these very pretty mauve flowers, held on stems that grow up to around 60-80cm (2-2.6ft) tall.  The flowers are beautiful, with a truly delicious scent.  This is a superb plant to grow to encourage insects into your garden; as Hesperis matronalis flowers attract a wide range of pollinating insects, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.

Hesperis matronalis plants’ main flowering time is from May to the end of July; however, my plants often bloom from April to December.  Regular deadheading will extend the flowering season and encourage your plants to produce the maximum number of blooms.  If you don’t deadhead Hesperis matronalis, these plants will be delighted to self-seed around your garden.  Self-seeding often delivers the best results, as I feel Hesperis matronalis look especially lovely when planted in drifts.

This is a superb plant to grow to enhance your garden.  Hesperis matronalis produce sweetly scented cut flowers that will enhance your garden and your home, as Hesperis matronalis flowers make absolutely fabulous cut flowers.

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