Our Plant of the Month is the Erysimum perennial wallflower. It has masses of small flowers on tall spires, often for months on end. Some varieties are fragrant, and bees and butterflies love it as much as we do!
It used to be that wallflowers were short-lived, but there are now more types that can flower from March well into the summer. It’s often one of the first plants to flower in the spring. It mixes well with our February Plant of the Month, the primrose, and also looks good with euphorbia, tulips and many cottage garden plants.
The Erysimum is a sun worshipper, so plant in full sun, sheltered from strong winds. It grows best in poor to moderately fertile soil that is well-drained, neutral or alkaline. After it has flowered, trim lightly to keep its rounded shape.
The Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve' wallflower is a bushy evergreen shrub which grows up to 75cm (21/2ft) tall. It has narrow, dark grey-green leaves and upright rich mauve flowers from late winter to summer. It was shortlisted for the Chelsea Plant of the Centenary.
‘Winter Orchid’ is a show-stopping burnt orange, which matures to purple. It isn’t as long lasting as the Bowles’s Mauve, so enjoy it while it’s on flower. Unlike traditional perennial wallflowers, it’s beautifully scented.
‘Apricot Delight’ has masses of apricot-orange flowers for months on end. Like ‘Winter Orchid’, it’s a short-lived perennial, but lovely while it lasts. Unlike some varieties, it can be planted in sun or partial shade.