Eazy Gardening

Honeywort: A Versatile and Non-Toxic Garden Delight

Cerinthe Major ‘Purpurascens’: A Beautiful and Beneficial Plant for Your Garden

If you’re looking for a unique and easy-to-grow addition to your garden that will provide beautiful flowers and benefits to wildlife, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, commonly known as honeywort, is the perfect choice. In this article, we will cover all the basics about this unique plant, including its physical description, blooming habits, benefits to wildlife, preferred growing conditions, potential pest and disease issues, and planting and maintenance tips.

Overview of the Plant

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a Mediterranean native and belongs to the Boraginaceae family. It is a biennial or short-lived perennial grown mostly for its colorful and distinctive flowers, which bloom in late spring to early summer.

The plant features thick and fleshy blue-green foliage and produces clusters of delicate tubular flowers that are purple-blue or purple-pink in color. Its unique, blue-green foliage sets it apart from most other flowering plants and gives it a distinct look.

The plant is also known by other names such as waxflower, blue shrimp plant, and pride of Gibraltar. Honeywort refers to the fact that it produces nectar, which attracts both bees and hummingbirds alike.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is known for its long-lasting blooms and its ability to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The flowers’ tubular shape also makes it easy for the pollinators to reach the nectar.

During blooming, the plant grows up to 2 feet in height and can spread up to 2 feet wide. Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a self-seeding plant; once established, it will often continue to grow and bloom annually without any extra effort from the gardener.

The plant is also a deer-resistant plant, which makes it ideal for gardeners who live in areas where deer regularly visit their gardens.

Plant Cultivation and Care

Preferred Growing Conditions

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ prefers well-draining soil and requires full or partial sun exposure. It thrives in Mediterranean-like climates and prefers a warm and dry summer.

Potential Pest and Disease Issues

The plant is relatively pest-free, but it may occasionally get affected by aphids. Encouraging beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings into your garden will help keep these pests under control.

In terms of diseases, the plant is not susceptible to any significant problems.

Planting and Maintenance Tips

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is easy to grow and requires little maintenance beyond deadheading spent blooms to encourage new flowers. It is also drought-tolerant and can withstand dry spells without much watering.

The plant grows well in containers and looks great in mixed flower beds or as a border plant. When planting, sow seeds directly into the soil in late summer or early fall.

To get the best results:

Plant seeds in well-draining soil and in a location that receives full or partial sunlight. Water regularly until the plant is established, after which it can tolerate dry spells.

Keep the garden weed-free to avoid competition for nutrients. Deadhead the spent flowers to encourage new blooms.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, or honeywort, is an eye-catching plant that provides an abundance of benefits to wildlife. Its unique appearance, long-lasting blooms, and drought tolerance make it a perfect choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

With a little bit of care, it will thrive in your garden, providing color and nectar to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds alike. So, add honeywort to your garden and enjoy its beauty and benefits for years to come.

3) Plant Propagation Methods: Sexual and Asexual Reproduction

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ can be propagated via both sexual and asexual means, giving gardeners options for expanding their gardens. Sexual Reproduction:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens flowers produce seeds that allow the plant to propagate sexually.

The plant has tiny flowers that require proper pollination to produce viable seeds. When the flowers are pollinated, they mature into seedpods that will turn from green to brown.

The seeds are then ready to be harvested. Harvest the seeds after the pods have dried and store them in a dry container for planting in the following season.

Asexual Reproduction:

Asexual reproduction can be done by division, where the plant can be split into several separate plants. This method produces mature plants quicker than using seeds, as the newly established plants would retain the traits of the parent plant.

Asexual propagation can also be done through stem cuttings. Cuttings are taken from the main stem of the plant by removing a piece of the stem containing the foliage.

Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder then plant in soil that drains well. Cover it with a clear plastic bag, creating a greenhouse effect, and place the pot in a bright area where the temperature is warm and consistent.

Within two to three weeks, the cutting will begin to root, and after a few months, it will grow into a mature plant.

4) Plant Adaptations to Different Environments

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ thrives in warm and dry conditions but can adapt to different environments with ease. Drought Tolerance:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ can survive in drought-prone conditions with minimal water usage.

The plant has fleshy leaves, allowing it to hold onto moisture, reducing its reliance on consistent watering. However, during the summer season, when the plant is in its blooming phase, it requires more water to produce long-lasting blooms.

Adaptability to Different Soils:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ can grow in a variety of soils, from sandy to clay, as long as the soil drains well. If planted in soil that does not drain well, the roots will be waterlogged, leading to rot.

The plant does best in a loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Tolerance to Heat:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a perfect plant for gardeners living in hot and dry climates.

It can withstand high temperatures in the summer months and requires minimal watering to grow. Resistance to Pests:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a relatively pest-free plant but can occasionally be affected by aphids.

However, due to the plants natural defenses, the pests usually do not cause significant harm.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a beautiful and beneficial plant that thrives in warm and dry environments. The plant’s drought tolerance, adaptability to different soils, tolerance to heat, and resistance to pests make it a perfect choice for gardeners who desire attractive, low-maintenance plants.

Propagation of Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is simple, and both sexual and asexual reproduction methods are available. With these features, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is an ideal addition to any garden, providing an abundance of colorful blooms and attracting a wide variety of pollinators.

5) Usage of the Plant in Indoor Setting

Although Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a plant that thrives in warm and dry environments outdoors, it does well in indoor settings too. The plant can be grown in pots and placed in well-lit areas indoors near windows or under grow lights.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ requires bright light or full sun exposure to grow. Place the pot in a location where it can get at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day.

In the absence of natural light, supplement with grow lights that mimic natural bright light. Soil and Potting:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ has fleshy leaves that retain moisture; therefore, it requires a well-draining soil mix.

The soil mixture should have at least one-third sand or perlite, which allows for quick drainage. Choose a pot size that is suitable for the plants size to prevent root rot.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a drought-resistant plant that requires minimal water to grow indoors. Always check the soil for moisture levels before watering.

During the winter season, it requires less water, while in the blooming phase, the plant will require more water to produce a healthy flower. Fertilizing:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ does not require much fertilization when grown indoors.

Moderate use of an all-purpose, balanced water-soluble fertilizer once every two to three months, while the plant is actively growing.

6) Usage of the Plant in Outdoor Setting

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is an attractive plant that can be used in a variety of ways outdoors, from borders to container gardening. It is a great addition to flower beds and can add color and texture to any outdoor area.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ can be used as a border plant, perennial in warmer zones and can be grown as an annual in cooler zones. It has a unique look and adds a pop of color to any border.

When planting as a border, space the plants one to two feet apart. Container Gardening:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ can be grown in large containers, and it looks great when paired with other flowering plants such as snapdragons or dianthus.

When planting in a container, make sure it has drainage holes to prevent root rot. Choose a container size that can accommodate the plant’s growth and root system; the pot should have enough room to allow the plant’s roots to grow without becoming root-bound.

Rock Gardens:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is an excellent addition to rock gardens. The plant’s blue-green leaves and colorful blooms give a distinct look to the garden.

When incorporating the plant in rock gardens, pair it with other drought-resistant plants that thrive in dry conditions. Wildflower Gardens:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is also a great addition to wildflower gardens.

It reseeds easily and attracts pollinators such as hummingbirds and bees to the garden. When planting, ensure that the soil is well-draining.


Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a versatile plant that can be grown in both indoor and outdoor settings. It is an ideal choice for busy gardeners who want easy-to-grow plants that require little maintenance.

Growing Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ indoors is simple, but gardeners will need to ensure that the plant receives adequate light and has proper drainage to prevent root rot. Outdoors, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a perfect choice for borders, container gardening, rock gardens, and wildflower gardens.

By planting Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens,’ gardeners will be rewarded with unique, eye-catching colors that bloom for an extended period and attract beneficial pollinators. 7) Toxicity of the Plant to Pets and Horses, Humans

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a non-toxic plant; neither its leaves nor its flowers contain any poisonous elements.

The plant is considered safe for pets and horses and is also safe for human consumption.

It is essential to note that although the plant is considered non-toxic, it is always best to keep pets and horses away from all plants unless you are sure that they are safe for consumption.

Pets and horses that eat unknown plants can develop digestive problems or even ingest plants that are genuinely toxic and may cause severe health problems. Human Consumption:

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is edible and is commonly used in salads and other culinary dishes.

Edible parts of the plant include the leaves, which have a slightly salty taste, and the flowers, which have a sweet and slightly peppery taste. In conclusion, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a non-toxic plant that is safe for pets and humans.

However, it is always best to prevent your pets and horses from eating unknown plants to prevent any digestive issues or other health complications. When harvested and prepared correctly, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ can be consumed as an edible delicacy.

In conclusion, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a unique and versatile plant that is easy to grow, looks great in any garden setting, and attracts beneficial pollinators while being non-toxic. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, the plant’s drought resistance, adaptability to various soils, and tolerance to heat make it an ideal choice for gardeners of all levels.

With the right care and maintenance, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ will bloom for an extended period and provide an attractive addition to any garden.


Q: Is Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ poisonous to pets?

A: No, the plant is non-toxic to pets and horses. Q: Can Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ be grown indoors?

A: Yes, the plant can be grown indoors in well-lit areas near windows or under grow lights. Q: What is the blooming period for Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’?

A: The plant blooms during late spring to early summer and has long-lasting flowers. Q: How often should Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ be watered?

A: The plant requires minimal watering and is drought-tolerant. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch.

Q: Can Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ be grown in containers? A: Yes, the plant grows well in large containers with proper drainage.

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