Posts Tagged ‘matthiola’

Starting with stocks

May 31st, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Double flowered stock (Matthiola)

Stocks seem to have become unfashionable. It’s all a bit mad, really, because stocks provide some of the most beautiful, most fragrant and longest lasting of cut flowers. But the best of them are tall, they need support and it can be fiddly to work out which of the seedlings produce the beautiful double flowers and which don’t. So they’re hard to find in catalogues.

The ones that you can get hold of with no trouble at all are the shorter ones such as ‘Brompton’ stocks, which are genuine biennials, and even shorter ones (‘Hot Cakes’ and ‘Ten Week’) which are usually grown as half hardy annuals.

Sow the taller, 45cm,‘Brompton’ stocks now or over the next month. There’s enough seed in the packet (150 seeds) that you can sow them in a row outside, thin them to 10-15cm, then either transplant alternate plants and leave the rest in place or move them all and plant them 20cm apart. If your soil is heavy then raise them in pots and plant them out in the spring.

Raise ‘Cinderella’ in the same way or, along with the short ‘Hot Cakes’ and ‘Ten Week’, wait till the spring and treat them as short-term half hardy annuals.

Either way, choose a sunny site for all of them with fertile but well-drained soil. ‘Brompton’ will need support as the flower stems extend in spring, a slim green cane to each one is usually enough. They’re best cut and brought inside where you can enjoy their colour and their wonderful fragrance.