Wallflowers the old fashioned way

October 25th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Wallflowers 'Cloth of Gold', 'Purple Prince', Ivory White' and 'Fire King'

It’s wallflower time… No, I don’t mean that it’s flowering time, of course not, but it’s the traditional time for planting wallflowers grown in in the traditional way.

You can buy wallflowers in packs in the garden centre, these days, but the plants tend to be small and the varieties are usually only the dwarf ones; full size wallflower plants are far too big for packs. I’ve also seen wallflower plants sold individually in 9cm pots or in threes in 12cm pots. But that’s a very expensive way of buying them.

The traditional approach is to buy them as bare root plants, plants dug from rows on the nursery and grown from seed sown in summer. They’ve been on sale in my local market for the last few weeks but I’m always concerned about clubroot.

Wallflowers suffer from the same clubroot disease that attacks cabbages and other brassicas but market sellers – how can I put this politely? – are not always aware that they might be selling wallflowers infected with the disease. So I always warn people off market and farm gate wallflowers.

So order your bare root wallflowers from Mr F, they’re specially cultivated to eliminate the possibility of infection and checked carefully before packing – and in fact dispatch has just started. Old fashioned varieties such as ‘Cloth of Gold’, ‘Fire King’, ‘Ivory White’ and ‘Purple Shades’ reach about 45cm and need tall tulips planted amongst them as partners. The 35cm ‘Persian Carpet’ is a sparkling shorter mixture.

There won’t be much soil on the roots when they arrive but soak the roots for an hour or two in SeaSol Organic Seaweed Concentrate to speed up new root growth and plant them straight away. Even if they look a little bedraggled at first they’ll soon settle in and next spring – wow!

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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