Posted: 19/10/2014 at 19:40
Forester 2 Cerinthe major purpurascens is really easy to grow and once you've grown it you'll always be able to get seeds to sow in following years. I've been growing it for about 8 years now and only ever bought one packet of seeds.
I've seen it described as either an annual or half hardy perennial depending where you look. If I find seedlings in say Sept time I'll give them protection in a sheltered spot or cold frame. I sometimes sow in october and don't bother to put them under cover at all. Otherwise I'll sow in feb/march. The seeds are similar in size to lupin or sweetpea so very easy to manage. I've never soaked the seeds either although some people do.
It's silvery / grey /green foliage and purple hanging bells surrounded by purple/blue bracts are a great addition to both the garden, flower beds and allotment bringing in tons of bees and pollinators. It grows to around 60cm. I pinch some of mine out to make them a bit more bushy and they're not overly fussy on the type of soil, my allotment has clay whereas my garden has lovely rich conditioned soil.
I've not ever brought any inside for a vase but Sarah Raven says to sear the cut stems with boiling water and they'll last about 10days in a vase.