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02/03/2014 at 13:55

Hello all.

I got some sweet rocket seeds, it says to surface sow once the worst of the frost has past. Do you think I should leave it a few weeks yet?

02/03/2014 at 14:07

You could broadcast the seed where you want it, but I sow indoors into plug trays, and then pot on into 7cm pots, then plant in final position in September to flower next year.

Sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis ) are hardy short lived perennials.

02/03/2014 at 14:10
fidgetbones wrote (see)

You could broadcast the seed where you want it, but I sow indoors into plug trays, and then pot on into 7cm pots, then plant in final position in September to flower next year.

Sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis ) are hardy short lived perennials.

Fidget, that's like saying a Rolls Royce is a car ............. Sweet Rocket is a hardy short-lived perennial with probably the most intoxicating evening perfume it's possible to grow outside in the UK 

02/03/2014 at 14:13

.....and you should see how many  I will have in flower this May.

02/03/2014 at 14:15

I hope I shall have more than last year, poor show. Usually very good

02/03/2014 at 14:27

Watch out for cabbage white caterpillars, mine got shredded last year, although i did squish them and have some nice healthy plants for spring this year, will make a nice flowery show.

02/03/2014 at 14:30

Yes, I've looked up evening scented plants and want to plant out as many as possible. I may sow some inside as well. If planted out though should I wait a bit? Will they not flower until next year? Thank you all.

02/03/2014 at 14:32

I doubt they will flower this year. I would concentrate on getting good plants for next years flowers.

02/03/2014 at 15:04

Try Nicotians affinis for evening scent Jack. Sow now and you'll have flowers this year

02/03/2014 at 15:18

My staple evening scented annuals are night scented stock (matthiola longipetala bicornis) and night phlox (zaluzianskya capensis.)  I prefer the white version of sweet rocket (hesperis matronalis alba), but it probably won't flower this year as others have said.  Once you have it established though, it will readily self-seed and sometimes mature plants will last for several years - some of mine are evergreen in mild winters.

02/03/2014 at 15:25

Mine's been flowering on and off through this last winter! 

02/03/2014 at 16:01

Thanks all,

Lyn, I don't think I could squish caterpillars, ha! Thanks for the advice though.

Thanks Fidgetbones, I haven't much space inside so may put them out and see how they go.

Nutcutlet, thanks yes! These are on my list of ones to get.

Thanks Bob, I'm going to go and look up those now, I had evening primrose last year and they'd stay open all night in late summer, which is what inspired me.

Want to attract moths also as part of working towards a wildlife friendly garden.

Cheers all.

03/03/2014 at 10:13

Sweet rocket is a wonderful plant Jack! I sowed some in 2012 into seed trays and then potted them on until they were big enough to go out. In their first year they grew into  very large flat rosette type plants and last year they certainly did rocket up!

I had armfuls of cut flowers last year  and they smelt amazing. I did get some white cabbage catepillars on them but I had so many it didn't matter to me. I was surprised how big they got! I grew mainly the white ones but had a few purple ones as well. Did dig up a couple of the bigger sweet rockets when I moved here and I think i might get some more flowers this year as well

Also a big fan of night scented stock, one of the first that grew from seed and grow it every year.

My last garden was grown with all insects in mine and had some evening primose as well, looks some of it has snuck it's way here when I potted up some other plants!

Haven't tried nicotians yet. Good luck with your wildlife friendly garden

03/03/2014 at 12:10

Hello Hollie Hock, sounds great! Yes I'm going to get some night scented stock, I'd never heard about it until yesterday. 

Thanks, it will take a while, to make my garden more wildlife friendly, haven't done much yet. There were a lot of butterflies, bees and dragonflies amongst other things last year, and I always get lots of birds. There's sparrow's and starlings all over the garden as I type this. Saw a goldfinch for the first time in my life the other day.

I built a log pile, I'm letting grass grow in certain areas, planted some wild flowers and grass. I'm going to make a pond and a bug hotel next.

03/03/2014 at 12:18

Hi Jack, sounds as if you have some wildlife attractors in their already.

I had a very small pond in my last garden and toads did arrive somehow as well as some wood piles in an undisturbed corner. I found that the bees adored the scabious, rudebekkias and echnicineas. There's lots of people on here who garden with wildlife in mind so I'm sure you will get loads of ideas.

Seed sowing is great and you will get loads of plants for very little money but tons of enjoyment


03/03/2014 at 15:57

Thank you Hollie hock, I will look up those plant/flower names. Yes there's a wealth of collective knowledge on here and glad people are into attracting wildlife. Yes I should have done more research before buying seeds, everything I seem to have got so far is biannual and won't do much until the second year. 

03/03/2014 at 20:37


a few years ago I started some sweet rocket from seed indoors in March, planted out after the frost, and it flowered that year. The two severe winters seemed to have killed them off but last summer I must have disturbed some self-sown seed as several have grown over the winter and some are currently in flower, though only tiny ones!

For whatever I sow I now tend to sow some seed and keep some for later in case of germination problems or to give a succession.

I'm definitely a fan of sowing in small cells and potting up or planting out, I find outdoor sowing quite hit and miss for many plants. If I do sow outdoors I cover the seeds with compost rather than soil - I sometimes find that, especially if the seeds need watering , ordinary soil forms into a hard crust that seeds can't break through. Covering with compost also helps you see where you've sown.

Night scented stock has a lovely scent but the flowers aren't very impressive - you might want to try mixing the seed with some Virginia stock or Candytuft. Reseda (mignonette) is a nice evening-scented plant but not as easy/reliable.

Some easy wildlife-friendly annual seeds that will flower the same year are: nigella/love in a mist, sweet scabious, single cornflower wild or cultivar (available mixed colours but avoid double flowered, agrostema/corncockle, candytuft, dwarf sunflower (little leo?), limnanthes/fried eggs, calendula/pot marigold. All should be ok sown outside in late March or April. If you sow some in April and some in June you should get a succession. Sorry for the mixture of Latin/common names!

Some late flowering perennials may flower the first year - I think the echinacea I grew from seed a few years ago did - so don't despair.

If you've already spent a lot on seeds, and the folk on the forum are tempting you further,  Wilkinsons own are good value! 




03/03/2014 at 21:47

Wow, thanks for all that Steve! Great advice there, I will check out all those annuals tomorrow when I get in from work. I'm making a list of all the ones I like the look of most and then I'll hopefully keep ticking ones off as I get them. I have a Wilkinsons close by, I'll have to check it out. Cheers!

03/03/2014 at 23:18

I'm a great fan of biennials, you think you wont see them for ages but the time goes so quick and then you have some wonderful plants which you can collect the seed off for more. Some of them can self seed as well so you have the bonus of extra plants


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