Crepsis: Hawksbeard

Height 30cm (12in)

Planting distance 15cm (6in)

Flowers in summer

Any well-drained soil

Full sun

Hardy annual

Most species of the genus Crepis are weeds, but a few are suitably handsome for garden decoration, including the annual Crepis rubra. This accommodating plant has basal rosettes of pale green, toothed and lance-shaped leaves above which rise 30cm (12in) high flower stems. The stems are topped with a mass of loose clusters of double, dandelion-like flowers throughout the summer months and later. They are rose-pink in the species and white in the variety ‘Alba’. Another form ‘Snowplume’ has white feathery blossoms with a pale apricot centre.

These charming plants are suitable for growing at the front of annual and mixed borders and in rock gardens; they are also long-lasting as cut flowers.

Cultivation

Sow seeds directly in the flowering site in early autumn for early flowering; cover the seedlings with cloches in cold districts. Alternatively, sow in early to mid spring, covering the seeds lightly with soil. Thin all seedlings to stand 15cm (6in) apart when they are large enough to handle.

Crepis grow well in any dry and well-drained soil, particularly poor ones, provided they are given full sun. They are tolerant of ex-posed sites and thrive in coastal regions. Dead-head regularly to prevent self-seeding; named varieties do not come true to type.

Pests and diseases

Generally trouble free.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles | Comments Off on Crepsis: Hawksbeard

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