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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Ageratum: New cut flowers from seed or plants

Posted by Graham Rice on 28 Feb 2012 at 12:27 PM

Ageratum 'Everest Blue' (left) and 'High Tide Blue' - new for cutting. Images © Ball Seed and Kieft SeedsAs a cut flower, ageratum is does not always come to mind. We tend to think of it more as an edging plant. But it’s actually one of the best of all blue flowers for cutting, especially as it’s not difficult to grow. And this year sees the arrival of two new varieties, one available as seed and one as plugs.

‘Everest Blue’ (above left, click to enlarge), new from Holland, is perhaps a fraction taller, reaching 20-26in/50-65cm in height and continues to produce new colour all through the summer.

‘High Tide Blue’ (above right, click to enlarge), new from across the Atlantic, is a very productive variety reaching 20-24in/50-60cm in height and is very well branched.

Frankly they both look good, and your choice may well depend on whether you’d rather grow plants from seed, in which case choose ‘High Tide Blue’, or if you’d prefer to start with mini-plugs, in which case choose ‘Everest Blue’.

Both are happy in any reasonably fertile soil, but prefer at least six hours of sunshine each day. Expect up to twenty cut stems from each plant, cut the stems when the central floret in the head is completely open and there is colour in the florets to the side. Always use flower preservative and that should give you a ten day vase life.

Cut Ageratum stems do not store well or travel well – so Ageratum ideal as a home grown cut flower.

Seed of Ageratum ‘Everest Blue’ is available from Nicky’s Nursery.

Young plants of Ageratum ‘High Tide Blue’ are available from Unwins.

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