Saturday 20 January 2018

Ask Marie: Growing honesty plants

Marie Staunton

I want to grow an honesty plant (pictured) in the garden. Is it too late to sow the seed now?

Not at all, you can either sow it directly into the soil in either part shade or full sun, or sow it into a modular tray – one seed per module, and don't leave them too long in the trays or they won't be as strong as those sown directly into the ground.

Honesty plants aren't too keen on very acid soil; other than that, they are happy plants and thrive in most gardens.

We have a lot of pink ones in the garden, and this year I put in a good few white ones. These are excellent plants for attracting butterflies and bees into the garden, and a firm favourite with flower arrangers.

The white Lunaria annua 'Honest Alba' is a fantastic plant for the winter garden because of the seed heads. They are translucent and beautiful in winter sunshine.

Is thalictrum easy to grow?

You can start them off in seed trays in August; only cover the seeds with a light dusting of vermiculite or a bit of sieved compost. It should take about two to three weeks for germination, as long as the compost doesn't dry out, so be vigilant.

Once the seedlings are big enough to handle, transplant them into small pots and get them used to the great outdoors over a couple of weeks before planting them into the garden.

Thalictrums love a bit of dappled shade, but will do grand in full sun as long as there is moisture in the ground. They will not survive in waterlogged soil – it will kill them stone dead – so it's a bit of a balancing act.

This plant is a beautiful sight in full flower – the delicate haze of tiny purple flowers adds a bit of romance to the summer garden.

Irish Independent

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