March seeds

Sow Cleome hassleriana ‘Violet Queen’

UK subscribers to Gardens Illustrated will have received a packet of Cleome hassleriana 'Violet Queen' seeds with the March issue. Now is the perfect time to plant them.

A tall, elegant, half-hardy annual with rich violet-purple flowers, produced from summer into autumn, that rise delicately above aromatic palmate foliage. Looks stunning in cut flower displays. The seedheads can be dried and added to arrangements too.

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March seeds
Illustration by Hannah McVicar

Advice for sowing

Sow thinly in trays of seed compost and cover with a fine layer of soil. Firm gently and keep moist. Cover tray with glass, polythene or propagator and leave to germinate at 15-20°C.

Remove cover when seedlings appear and pot on when large enough to handle. Stand outside for a few days in May to harden off (avoiding frosts). Plant out in flowering position 60cm apart. Prefers moist but well drained soil in a sunny, sheltered position. May need staking as it grows to a height of 1.2m.

Flowers July to October.

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Seed packet illustration by Hannah McVicar