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Hesperis matronalis

Sweet rocket

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour

Lavender, White





Skill level


Hesperis matronalis

Plant details

Sweet rocket, Hesperis matronalis, is a pretty annual, bearing white or purple flowers similar to honesty. A packet of sweet rocket seeds is likely to produce flowers varying in colour from deep rich purple, through all the paler lilac shades to white – leave them to seed themselves and they will maintain this diversity indefinitely, gradually naturalising over a large area. The flowers' fragrance is as sweet as a violet's, and most pronounced in the evening. It looks good when allowed to drift, naturally through an informal sunny border, especially in a cottage garden or wilelife garden scheme.

Sow Hesperis matronalis seed in late-spring where you want it to flower. Deadhead spent blooms to prolong flowering, but allow some flowers to develop seeds so plants can self-seed around the garden.

Family: Brassicaceae

Genus: Hesperis

Species: matronalis

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Lavender, White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 100cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: May to June

Reader reviews


Before I married my mum and I used to have this in our garden and I always loved it, the scent is glorious. 25 years on I have just pricked out seedlings of it which I sowed in early April, I can't wait for it to naturalize, a beautiful plant, its loved by pollinating insects too.


I have bought two plants to grow with my vegetables as I heard they are good for deterring pests. Are there any vegetables that are not compatible with the Hesperis?

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