Green Thumb | This wallflower not so shy

EXHIBITIONIST: Far from being shy, delicate and retiring, the orange wallflower shows off its vivid blooms to brighten any garden. It gets its name from its ability to grow in loose wall mortar.
EXHIBITIONIST: Far from being shy, delicate and retiring, the orange wallflower shows off its vivid blooms to brighten any garden. It gets its name from its ability to grow in loose wall mortar.

I love this time of the year. The garden is bursting back into life and spring flowers are colourful and bright. One all-time, old-time favourite is the wallflower. 

This member of the Brassicaceae family was previously known as Cheiranthus, but is now in the Erysimum genus which is made up of about 180 species of annuals and perennials originating from Southern Europe.

The common name wallflower actually comes from the plant’s ability to grow in loose wall mortar – obviously a very hardy plant. 

The patch of orange wallflowers near the Horticulture Department at Wodonga TAFE has been flowering for a few weeks now, and is a splash of colour to delight the senses. 

I used to only plant the purple form, but the orange version is stunning, and apparently orange is the new black.

Erysimum will grow in most parts of Australia – just not well in tropical areas.  In warm, humid locations downy mildew (a fungal infection) can be a problem.

To avoid fungal problems make sure your soil has good drainage and that mulch is not directly under the plant. Good ventilation between your plants will also help fight against fungal attacks.

This plant is quite versatile; you can plant it in clumps, use it in rock gardens and it also makes a good cut flower. It grows to about 60 centimetres tall so it could also make a fantastic border plant.

 Ensure you plant the wallflower in full sun or in a spot with partial afternoon shade.

Wallflower will reward you with abundant flowers through late winter, spring, and into summer – it doesn’t get much better than this.

The pleasing perfume of the Erysimum’s flowers is a bonus, and this plant is known for attracting butterflies to the garden.

The wallflower is available in a wide range of colours including orange/red, yellow and mauve. There is also a variegated leaf form available.

Another common name for this plant is ‘Winter Cheer’ and this is perfect.

It really does give some cheer to the garden during the winter.  

Diary

Burrumbuttock Flower Show and Open Gardens, Sunday, October 29, 9.40am-4pm.  This year there are workshops, the open gardens, market stalls and food available.  For information and schedules for the show, see the Burrumbuttock Flower Show and Open Gardens Facebook page.

Another common name ... is ‘Winter Cheer’