x-Catananche caerulea 'Major'
Often mistaken for annual cornflowers, Catananche caerulea 'Major' is an unjustly little known, herbaceous perennial with daisy-like flowers in a vibrant, lavender blue.
Tufts of silver, grass like foliage hold these pretty flowers aloft on wiry stems that sway merrily in the wind and plants bloom freely from midsummer until the first few weeks of autumn. Fully hardy, plants love full sun and a well drained, light soil and are drought tolerant once established. Easy to maintain, plants can have a tendency to topple sideways and will benefit from some subtle staking either with twiggy sticks or short bamboo canes and twine.
Dead head catananche regularly to keep plants flowering for as long as possible and cut stems back hard at the end of the season. Flowers dry beautifully with silver seedheads making attractive displays indoors but they are also lovely left on the plant until the autumn winds finally break them down.
Neat, narrow and upright, plants are best planted generously in groups for the most dramatic effective and Catanache will grow well from seed, flowering the same year from a late winter sowing. Lovely popping up through grasses or other silver leaved plants like Artemisia they also look stunning mixed with purple and pink perennials such as verbenas rigida and hastata 'Pink Spires'. They are perfect in informal cottage gardens or coastal and dry style gravel plantings.