Alphabe Thursday: Letter C is for Cerinthe

I love gardening, that goes without saying, but I am no means an expert.  This is never more true when it comes to visiting other gardens and coming across plants I have never seen before.    This is compounded all the more when others say “Oh I have had that in my garden for years”.

In May this year I visited the Henfield Open Gardens.  As we dived in and out of neatly prepared gardens I was walking down the path of the last garden and found an interesting no, fascinating, plant with blue tubular flowers, about a metre high.  My companion knew exactly what it was called:  “That is a Cerinthe” as though he couldn’t understand that I didn’t know what this exciting plant was.   Not only does it have a strange name that I kept forgetting but it is different with an unusual colour.  The trumpet like flowers range from purple through to blue, with sea blue or purple bracts and fleshy  oval blue-green leaves.


Cerinthe, ‘Purpurascens’  apparently has a preferred common name of  ‘Honeywort’, I had not heard of that either.   Cerinthe can be an annual, biennial or perennial.  It likes south or west facing gardens with well drained fertile soil in a sheltered position and in full sun.


When I went to Parham Garden Plant Sale, I was so happy to find it for sale and quickly bought it regardless of the fact that I hadn’t given much thought as to whether it would thrive in my garden.   Fortunately it loved where I put it and towards the autumn my plant produced tiny black shiny seeds, which I have collected for next year.  It can be propagated in gentle heat in spring and planted out when the danger of frost has passed but sometimes, if the conditions are right, it can re-seed and appear all of its own accord in the Spring and rarely disappears from the garden.


Cerinthe is ideal for City/Courtyard Gardens, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds or Patio/Container planting.  It is generally pest and disease free, is superb as a cut flower and absolutely loved by butterflies and bees.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that they grow again next year, either by self-seeding or success with the seeds I collected.

As this is mainly a blog about my garden, I have chosen Cerinthe as my C for the Alphabe Thursday which is hosted by Jenny Matlock – hop over to her blog and read the other Alphabe Thursday Letter C posts.

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12 thoughts on “Alphabe Thursday: Letter C is for Cerinthe

  1. I don’t know this plant, but it is lovely.

    Those shades of grey, green and lavender are just so calm and beautiful.

    Thank for sharing this. I always enjoy discovering plants I’ve not heard of before!

    Thank you for linking.



  2. I had no idea what that word was so had to read this C!


  3. once seen (in London), never forgotten. I have never seen it in a South African garden.


  4. Hi there just love cerenthe does o well by the coast so it’s a favourite. 🙂


  5. I think my garden needs this plant. 🙂


  6. it is very beautiful and I love to garden and have never seen it before either…I love that purply blue color. it reminds me of the color of Salal berries….I am in Alphabe Thursday too…Come visit if you get a chance. Melinda


  7. I liked your choice of C. it was pretty, informative and interesting.


  8. These look like really beautiful flowers. My husband has got the green thumb in our family, plus we don’t have a garden, hence I only take photos of pretty flowers 🙂

    This is my Alphabe- Thursday – for letter ‘C’ @ ImagesByCW is about Charleston


  9. A wonderful all round plant, I really hope it returns for you – and I’m sure it will!


  10. Ordinary words…don’t have a green thumb but always appreciate those who do and are willing to share their knowledge♫


  11. Such a lovely and unusual C. I bought one that promptly died (or so it seemed), only to come back with a vengeance the next year. I don’t know how that happened, as it had not produced seed. It can become a nuisance, but far to pretty to get complaints from me.


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