An old-time favorite, Night-scented, sometimes called 'Evening-scented' Stock is one of the easiest and rewarding scented plants to grow.
The plants are fairly low in stature, growing 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) tall and wide with small pale lilac to white flowers. While not the showiest of plants, it is well worth adding to the garden for the wonderful evening fragrance.
The flowers open in the late afternoon to evening and emit a most delightful fragrance. The scent has been compared to vanilla, rose, spice and even cloves however one thing is certain, once you experience it in your own garden it will become a summer fragrance you will never want to be without.
Night Scented Stock are much more fragrant in positions where they aren’t inundated with fertiliser and tending. They also prefer a dryer than average position. Plant them in pots or directly into the front of beds to enjoy their fragrance, they are ridiculously easy from seed
Sowing: Sow in Spring. February to May
Cover with a thin layer of well drained compost or vermiculite.
The compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times. Germination 7 to 14 days
Sow in pots or directly where they are to flower. Position plants around seating areas and along paths in the garden so their scent can be enjoyed in the evenings
A sunny situation should be chosen, which should be prepared as soon as possible, making sure that drainage is good. For a continuous show, you may wish to plant stagger the sowing dates.
Ideal germination temperatures are around 21°C (70°F) so the seed may be sown early into pots and placed indoors early in the year. Otherwise, wait until temperatures warm a little before sowing directly into a prepare bed
Sow thinly, 6mm (1/4in) deep in small clumps or shallow drills. Sow 30cm (12in) apart in well-cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water ground regularly, especially in dry periods.
When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings until they are finally 30cm (12in) apart in spring. Light spring frosts will not harm the plants.
Flowers should be removed as soon as they have faded to promote the growth of further blooms. Never over water, but do not let the soil dry out. Preventive measures should be taken against aphids.
Cut flowers will last 8 to 10 days in water. Cut when flowers are half-open; recut stems underwater.
Cut Flowers, Flowers Borders and Beds, Patio and Container Plants.
Stocks, sea stocks, wallflowers and wall-gillyflowers are old English names for a confusing mix of crucifers, plants now classified in the Brassicaceae, the mustard family. Gillyflower or gillofloure, as John Gerard spelled it in 1597, also referred to pinks and sweet Williams.
Today, stock is the vernacular for species of Matthiola and in particular, Matthiola incana