If you're looking for an interesting garden project that produces fragrant spring flowers, you might want to try growing stock plants. The stock plant referred to here is not the plant that you nurture in the greenhouse as a source of cuttings, which may be any type of plant. Stock flower info indicates there is a type of plant that's actually named stock flower (commonly called Gillyflower) and botanically called Matthiola incana. Highly fragrant and attractive, you might wonder what is plant called stock? This may also lead to the question of when and how to grow stock flowers. Several varieties exist, with both single and double blooms. When growing stock plants, expect flowers to start blooming in spring and last through late summer, depending on your USDA hardiness zone. These fragrant blooms may take a break during the hottest days of summer.
How to Grow Stock Flowers
Stock flower info says the plant is an annual, grown from seed to fill those bare spots among other blooms in the spring to a summer garden. Other info says stock flowers can be biennial. In areas without freezing winters, stock flower info says it may even perform as a perennial. Stock flowers bloom from spring to summer, offering continuous blooms in the sunny garden when given the right stock plant care. Caring for stock plants includes growing them in well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist and deadhead spent blooms. Grow this plant in a protected area in colder areas and mulch to protect roots in winter.
Chilling Stock for Flowers
Growing stock is not a complicated project, but it does require a period of cold. The duration of cold needed as a part of stock plant care is two weeks for early blooming types and 3 weeks or more for late varieties. Temperatures should remain at 50 to 55 F. (10-13 C.) during this timeframe. Colder temperatures may damage the roots. If you neglect this aspect of caring for stock plants, blooms will be sparse or possibly nonexistent. You may wish to purchase seedlings that have already had cold treatment if you live in an area without cooler winters. Cold treatment can be accomplished by growing stock in tunnels of a greenhouse at the right time of year. Or the frugal gardener can plant seeds in winter and hope your cold spell lasts long enough. In this type of climate, stock flower info says the plant begins to bloom in late spring. In climates with winter freeze, expect blooms of growing stock plants to appear from late spring to late summer.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.
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