Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
If you made a list of the most popular cut flowers, the throatwort probably wouldn’t be on it. Yet, this is a very worthy plant to consider. Throatwort was a favorite during the Victorian era, but they fell out of favor.
First, let’s look at the name that has been assigned to this gorgeous flower. Its Latin name is Trachelium caeruleum. This comes from the Greek word ‘tracheolos’ in reference to the plants medicinal qualities. The second part of the name means blue, though the flowers are actually available in a range of colors, including white, pink, blue, and purple. It is also known as blue throatwort and trachelium.
The very fragrant, attractive throatwort is available commercially as a cut flower. It is most often seen from March through November. Throatwort is a member of the bellflower family or Campanulaceae.
Clusters of the graceful flowers appear in dense, large, decorative bunches terminally. These umbels may be up to six inches in diameter. The individual blooms, only ¼ to ½ inch long, are crowded together on the stems. The flower bunches are up to eight inches across.
The long, strong stems fill various roles in floral design. They are used for adding mass and as a filler for very large bouquets. Stems may be several feet in length.
Usually, the flowers will last for about a week to ten days.
A native to the Mediterranean region, this plant is perfect for the cutting garden. It is easy to care for. It rarely suffers from most plant diseases. In warmer areas of the South, throatwort can be grown as a perennial. For those in the North, it is best treated as an annual or a tender biennial. Throatwort has alternate, oval toothed foliage that is about 3 inches long.
It can be propagated by cuttings or seeds. If planted early enough indoors, they will bloom the first year from seeds. Cover the seeds very lightly, as they need light in order to germinate. In addition, throatwort needs long days in order to produce flowers. Throatwort seeds will germinate in about 7 to 10 days. Usually, it is best to start them indoors at least ten or twelve weeks before the date of the expected last frost.
Most people prefer to buy the plants from garden centers and nurseries rather than trying to start them indoors months ahead of time. Throatwort will start blooming in the late summer or fall, and continue until frost.
These are heat-loving plants. Wait until the weather is sufficiently warm, and the danger of frost is past before transplanting them outdoors to the cutting garden.
Throatwort needs a spot in full sun. They prefer a well-drained, moist alkaline soil.
Some excellent varieties of this plant are availabe. These include 'Passion in Violet' trachelium.