Friday, April 22, 2011

Cottage Flower of the Week #2

Blue Shrimp Plant

Welcome back to Cottage Flower of the week, where I share with you a less than well known cottage flower that for me is easy to grow in my mountain patch of a garden.

This week I am sharing Blue Shrimp plant, official name: Cerinthe Major Purpurascens  but also known as Honeywort or Blue Waxflower.


photo courtesy of

This blue beauty is gaining popularity and in fact is actually becoming quite vogue in some areas.    It stands about 16 to 24 inches and drapes with bracts of blue flowers. 

It is said to be a half-hardy perennial (I have also seen it called a hardy annual)  in zones 7-10, I am considered to be zone 7 (USDA) or 8 (I don’t think so) and it came back for me but I think it was the seeds that had spread and not the original plant.   So unless you live in the warmest parts of the country, treat it as an annual. One thing I love about this plant is it’s unusual blue green foliage that is reminiscent of eucalyptus leaves.  The unusual coloring makes it stand out when planted amongst your cottage flowers. The leaves change color with temperatures as well so keep an eye on it in the Fall and watch the show.

One of my shrimp plants last year.
shrimp plant

As is true with many cottage flowers honeybees and hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers.  This plant is also drought tolerant though you get nicer and more blooms with plenty of water, especially during the hot part of summer.

Harvest seeds before the pods hurl them around so you can plant them in spring. I put down some newspaper to catch them so I could easily collect some, they were flung far and wide and seedlings were popping up willy nilly. Deadheading will produce more flowers and more branching. It makes a good cut flower.

Here is an excerpt from Annie’s Annuals along with their photo:
"Blue Honeywort"
Cerinthe major purparascens
Cerinthe major purparascens
Give a thrill to someone who claims they kill everything! This fast-growing, easy & tough hardy annual bears tons of beautiful, nodding clusters of rich, purple-blue, tubular flowers on arching stems. 2-3’ tall & 2’ across. Attractive mottled blue-green leaves spiral up the many branching stems. Excellent in a container (3 gal. +). Self-sows! We get up to four self-sown cycles of bloom, including Winter.

They obviously are in a warmer zone and it is a perennial for them.  While visiting over at their site I saw they had another variety of Blue Shrimp plant, I will have to check it out and see if I can find seeds!

You can find seeds for this particular one at Swallow Tail Garden Seeds and Renees Garden Seeds. The seed packets have the growing instructions on them.

When I find something like this that performs so well I plant a lot of it, I like mass plantings which put on a show.  The tougher a plant is the better it performs with little effort on my part! 

Try a new cottage flower this year!

To see the first Cottage flower in this series clicke here Cottage Flower of the Week #1
or click on the flower photo
Agrostemma githago ‘Milas’



  1. they look great and very sweet!

    Thanks for the info and have a wonderful Easter!

  2. I have tried twice now to grow this plant from seed. I never get anything. I am bummed, because I think it's a really cool plant. I have th other one from Annie's Annuals, it has bicolor flowers. I'm hoping it reseeds.


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