Honeywort Growing Guide

Cerinthe major purpurescens


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost.


Full sun to part shade.

Frost tolerant

Honeywort tolerates occasional frosts, but not frozen roots. It is hardy only to -5°C (23°F), so it is best grown as an annual.


Drench with a liquid organic fertiliser when plants begin to grow tall in early summer.


Single Plants: 30cm (11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 30cm (11") with 30cm (11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Soak seeds in water overnight before planting indoors in early spring, or outdoors later on. Expect seeds to germinate within 14 days. Start exposing the plants to outdoor conditions while the weather is still cool, and set them out when they are about 6 weeks old. Or, direct-sow seeds where you want the plants to grow in spring. Young plants need water when they are actively growing, along with careful weeding. Honeywort grows fast once the roots become well established.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Cool weather intensifies the colour of honeywort’s purple bracts, so try to keep plants going until autumn. Honeywort is an unusual flower to grow as a cascading plant for walls or large containers, or you can use it to anchor a corner of the flower garden. Hummingbirds often visit the unusual drooping flowers, which are framed by gray-green leaves.


Gather stems for use in cut arrangements at any time, and sear the ends to help them last longer. Heavy-blooming honeywort produces a steady crop of seeds, which fall to the ground as they mature. Seedlings that appear in the fall survive winter in mild climates. Elsewhere, gather some of the large seeds for replanting in future seasons. Removing spent blossoms keep the plants in flower longer.


Honeywort is usually a trouble-free plant that is easy to grow.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Honeywort