Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'. This annual is one of the best for beginner gardeners as it is one of the easiest and most rewarding garden flowers to grow. Honeywort is deer resistant, drought resistant, and works well in patio containers. Its arching stems grow to around 60cm (24") tall and have a summer-long bloom time as new flowers continue to open from the ends of each branching stem. The bluish grey foliage resembles Eucalyptus, and is just as useful in cut flower displays. The ancient Greeks believed that bees extracted wax from the flowers in order to build honeycomb, perhaps because bees adore the abundant, nectar-rich flowers. Pronounced 'seer-inth' - the final 'e' is silent.
Cerinthe (AKA Honeywort) is an elegant looking plant that stands out for its unusual habit. Each stem arches upward out forward with a seemingly endless series of purple-blue bell shaped flowers. This plant works very well in larger containers or flower borders.
When I Get My Seedling Home
Keep seedlings under very bright light to prevent legginess. Artificial lights are ideal, but a bright (ideally, south-facing) room will work for the short term. You may have to pot on seedlings more than once before they go out to allow for root growth. This is done by transplanting them into a slightly larger container with enough additional soil to keep the container mostly full. Keep the soil moist by daily watering and allow for free drainage so the plants are never sitting water.
Do not transplant outside until daytime temperatures are steadily 10°C (50°F) or warmer. This may mean keeping seedlings indoors for up to a month. The plants should not require any fertilizer until transplant time.
Space or transplant 30-45cm (12-18″) apart. Water regularly during dry spells. Mulch around the stems in spring to keep the soil cool and moist. Cerinthe tends to self-sow, but is never invasive.