PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Honeywort (Cerinthe major)

Surprisingly, for a plant native to the Mediterranean region, Cerinthe loves living in the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t run rampant or bully other plants. It’s just kind of like an ex-pat who enjoys our climate and adds its beauty and nectar to our local garden community.

It is a self-seeding annual but it seems like a perennial. It will grow quickly into a multi-branched, small shrubby-looking collection of grey-green succulent leaves. Flowering at an early age, Cerinthe continues non-stop for several months. All the while, blooms turn to seeds which drop and eventually germinate. Once the mother plant has spent all her energy producing seed, she dies back, but in the meantime, new seedlings have sprung up and take her place. This transition is barely noticeable and most gardeners assume the plant just got a little bigger.

The super cool thing about Cerinthe is its flowers, which aren’t stand-alone blooms but are joined by the leaves in offering elegant splashes of purple, blue, and green for most of the year. Each stem ends in a deep purple tubular bloom and the leaves immediately behind turn purplish blue, the leaves next in line turn somewhat lighter blue, and so on down the stem for several inches. The flower-tipped stems curl inward and resemble the shape of shrimp, hence the plant’s other name ‘Blue Shrimp Plant’.

Plant Cerinthe out at a young age so it can establish itself without disturbance.

Find these beauties now at our nursery. 10-5 Tuesday-Sunday