Reseda flowers

A low-growing annual, grown for its delightful fragrance and unusual appearance. An old-fashioned cottage garden plant, which provides good cover of deep green foliage.

Family: Resedaceae (Reseda family)
Botanical Name: Reseda
Common Names: Bastard rocket, mignonette

Foliage: Deciduous, simple or pinnately lobed, dark-green leaves.

Flowers: Conical clusters of tiny fragrant flowers. Available in shades of green or yellow-green with contrasting red or yellow anthers.

Flowering Period: July-September (can be shorter in hot summers).

Soil: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil (chalk, sand or loam). Alkaline or neutral pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.

Conditions: Best in full sun but will tollerate light shade. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Upright or bushy growth of broadly spreading habit.

Type: Hardy Annual.

Origin: North Africa.

Hardiness: Hardy throughout the UK (usually dies back after flowering at the end of the season).

Planting and Growing Reseda

Plant in reasonably fertile well-drained soil, in a warm sunny situation. They will tolerate some light shade.

Prefers an alkaline soil, so apply lime if the soil is acid.

Ideal for growing along path edges, where the heady scent can be appreciated all summer. Long lasting as cut flowers.

Taking Care of Reseda

Easy to grow from seed. Dislikes heavy wet soils.

Water regularly and fertilise often for the best show of flowers.


Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period. Cut back after flowering.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Reseda

Direct sow seeds in April where they are to flower, lightly covering the seed with fine soil. Successional sow for a continuous show of flowers. Keep soil moist until established.

Can also be sown in autumn and over-wintered under a frame or cloche.

Popular Varieties of Reseda

Reseda odorata is the main garden species. Height to 16in (40cm). The plants are not really much to look at but the strong fragrance more than makes up for its untidy appearance. Good cultivars include:

  • 'Ameliorata' with rose-red flowers. Available at Chiltern seeds.
  • 'Goliath' with large, fragrant, reddish flower spikes.
  • grandiflora produces large flower heads with a heavy scent. Available at Chiltern seeds.
  • 'Machet' with dark foliage and pale red flowers.
  • 'Red Monarch' with red and green flowers.