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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'
BLUE SHRIMP PLANT, BLUE HONEYWORT, BLUE WAX FLOWER
Pronounced: ser-IN-thee MAY-jur poor-pyoo-RAI-senz
Sunset zones: 1-24.
Height: 2 feet (60 cm).
Width: 2 feet (60 cm).
One-inch long, purple tubes surrounded by large, almost heart shaped, purple-blue bracts.
Glaucous, pale green-gray to blue, spoon-shaped foliage.
Full sun to light shade.
For best results, plant in humus rich, moist but well-drained soil.
Use a complete organic fertilizer when seedlings appear and monthly applications thereafter.
Sow seed in spring after danger of frost has passed.
Rainy Side Notes
The first time I grew this annual, I could not find any information about it; however, Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' quickly became a popular plant, and rightly so. Now there is much more information available.
Cerinthe comes from the Greek word keros—wax, and anthos—a flower. At one time, it was considered an important nectar source for honeybees. It was also thought that bees obtained wax from the flowers. The genus is originally from the Mediterranean region, so the plant does well in our Mediterranean-type climate.
This beautiful and unusual annual draws in the hummingbirds and bees. After the first planting, it will politely self-sow every year. Cerinthes grow well in containers, where they will drape gracefully over the sides. To use as a cut flower, the ends of the stem need to be either flamed or dipped in hot water.
Photographed in author's garden.