Honeywort

(Cerinthe major) Honeywort is a tender perennial that is often grown as an annual. A member of the borage family, its name is Greek for "wax flower," as it was erroneously believed to be the source of beeswax. In its native Mediterranean range, the plants begin to grow in the winter and bloom in early spring, but many growers with cold winters will grow it as a warm season annual. The understated blooms produce a drop of sweet nectar, hence the name honeywort. A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies. Plants prefer full sun to part shade and rich, well-drained soil. Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date and transplant out after frost, or direct seed outdoors, ¼ inch deep, after last frost. You can soak seeds overnight to speed germination (though this is not essential). Seeds germinate in 7-21 days. Ideal germination temperature is 68-80 F. Space plants 12-18 inches apart. If harvesting for cut flower use, harvest during the early morning and dip the last inch of freshly cut stems in boiling water for 10 seconds, then immediately transfer them to a bucket of cool water. This temperature shock will prolong the vase life of the cut flower stalks.  

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