CINERARIA – Senecio hybrids
This daisy-like flower comes in magentas, blues, purples and white combinations. The flowers may be a slightly different shade when the new seedlings appear next winter. Plant in loose, rich soil, full to light shade, and give regular water. They look good planted as a group, combined with forget-me-knots, as a backdrop for daffodils or species geraniums. The seedlings planted for outdoors may grow 2’ tall and wide. The plants planted as indoor color can also be planted outside after they have finished blooming.
Cineraria are classified as perennial but act more like hardy annuals. They bloom in late winter and early spring, then dry out and look bad when the weather warms up. Give the dry flower heads a shake to encourage re-seeding or to collect the seed and sprinkle in other shady spots in the garden. Pull the old plants and toss in the compost pile.
These Biennials from the Mediterranean need regular water, well-drained soil and fertilizer. They are normally planted in part sun but grew to be 5 feet in one outer Richmond garden with southern exposure. They make a fantastic vertical element to the back of a bed and are very impressive when massed.
After first flowering cut off the main spike and the side shoots will grow and provide additional blooms. Hummingbirds love the bell-shaped flowers. The spikes can grow 2-5 feet depending on the species. Flower colors come in yellow, white, salmon, pink, lavender, purple and rose. All parts are poisonous if ingested.