Entrancing Erysimums: A good beginner’s plant

If I had to recommend one plant for a new gardener to buy it would be Erysimum ‘Bowle’s Mauve’.

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

Erysimum, otherwise known as a perennial wallflower, is a very easy plant to grow. It prefers full sun, but will cope with some shade and it isn’t too fussy about the type of soil it is grown in, unless it is very wet.

You can expect flowers from Spring to Autumn; you just need to dead head the blooms and to trim back the whole plant in Autumn to stop it getting leggy.  This is the plant that the butterflies really favour in my garden. A couple of years ago I had three Red Admirals who spent a good few weeks visiting every day.

Butterflies enjoy the purple flowers

Butterflies enjoy the purple flowers

Although pretty hardy, these plants are not long lived.  You can keep them going for a few years, but then they get very leggy and tend to fall over onto other plants. This is not a problem as these are one of the easiest plants to take cuttings from.

Erysimum cuttings

Erysimum cuttings

I did this for the first time last year and now I know how easy it is, I will be doing it every year and saving myself a fortune. You just need to break off the top of a stem and stick it in the edge of a flowerpot full of compost. I put mine in a sheltered spot outside and Hey Presto they were growing fine the next spring. One cutting even had a flower starting, until I removed the tips hoping to encourage them to branch. I have just transplanted them into separate pots.

There are plenty of other colours of Erysmimum that you can buy, but they are maybe not so available.

I have grown Apricot delight a few times. This is a lovely colour, especially for flower arrangements. The plant itself is not quite as robust as ‘Bowles Mauve’, but it is still worth growing.

Apricot Delight

Apricot Delight

It is also a very prolific flowerer and looks great in arrangements.

vase in a fireplace

vase in a fireplace

This year I have also tried ‘Yellow Bird’ for the first time. I planted them yesterday only to find out today that this is a much smaller variety more suitable for the rockery. Oh well, they will just have to be moved. That will teach me not to read the label.

Erysimum 'Yellow BIrd'

Erysimum ‘Yellow BIrd’

There are many other colours you could try, but you might have to order them online.

This one looks interesting.

Winter Orchid

If you don’t have any of these plants and have space for a smallish shrub, why not give one a try.

Erysimum buds

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ buds

If you have grown any other varieties I would love to hear how you got on.




9 thoughts on “Entrancing Erysimums: A good beginner’s plant

  1. Hi,

    Here they bloom year-round. I think they often bloom themselves literally to death. I had two suddenly die on me last year and I’m not sure why. They will often also suffer quite bad in repeated snow – like we had this year. But they are wonderful plants and I wouldn’t be without them because of how good they are for wildlife. I’ve already bought two to replace those lost, but I’ll have a go at cuttings now I know they’re so easy. I don’t like fussing around with things like that usually as I don’t have a greenhouse nor the patience to get them going, but these do sound super easy to propagate.

    • Yes, you should try. I don’t have a greenhouse either which is why I didn’t try before, but these were fine over winter outside. We didn’t have much snow though so maybe if there was they would need some sort of cover.
      I would agree that they could bloom themselves to death as they are so prolific. I don’t think they ever live that long though.

  2. They are beautiful, I love your arrangement. Another lovely tall one is ‘Ruston Royal’ . It came from East Ruston Old Vicarage. Perhaps a sport or seedling of ‘ Bowles Mauve’.

  3. I have just acquired a small rooted cutting of Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’ which I understand comes from a chance find in Bath in the 1990’s and has pink, orange and violet flowers. Have you ever tried it up in Scotland?

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