Catananche

Catananche flowers

A family of hardy herbaceous daisy-like perennials that make excellent border plants. Also useful as cut flowers.

Family: Asteraceae
Botanical Name: Catananche
Common Names: Cupid's dart, blue daisy, flower of love, blue cupidone.

Foliage: Deciduous, narrow, grey-green leaves.

Flowers: Silvery buds that open to blue, lavender-blue or white daisy-like flowers. Similar to cornflowers but the ends of the petals are blunt and serrated.

Flowering Period: June-September.

Soil: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil (chalk, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Short-lived herbaceous perennial.

Origin: Europe.

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Catananche

Easy to grow and not too fussy about soil. Best grown in a well-drained light loam in full sun. Ideal for flower beds or front/middle of the border. Reasonably drought tolerant once established.

The cornflower-like blooms are suitable for cutting and drying. Cut flowers last well in water.

Taking Care of Catananche

Support lax stems with twiggy supports as they grow.

Pruning Catananche

Dead head and cut back once the flowering season has finished.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew.

Propagating Catananche

Sow seeds in early spring under glass. Alternatively, sow outdoors in April-June, under the protection of a cold frame.

Increase cultivars from root cuttings or divide established clumps in spring.

Popular Varieties of Catananche

C. caerulea is the main garden species.

Catananche caerulea bears cornflower-like flowers on wiry stems. Height 1.5 to 2.5ft (45-75cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan. Varieties include:

  • 'Alba' pure white flowers.
  • 'Bicolor' white-edged flowers with blue centres.
  • 'Major' is the most popular variety with large, lavender blue flowers.