Plant stock as a great cool-weather plant.
Photo/Illustration: Bill Johnson
Matthiola incana and cvs.
Bloom Time: Spring and fall
Size: 8 to 32 inches tall and 10 to 16 inches wide
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; rich, loose, well-drained soil (do not overwater)
For even more color, try stock (Matthiola incana and cvs.). These sweet, clove-scented beauties come in many shades and colors and make a great transitional annual for the cool temperatures of early spring and fall. As temperatures warm, be sure to keep stock deadheaded or they will quickly go to seed (they will, inevitably, stop blooming during the summer months).
Because of their stiff, upright habit and beautiful array of colors, stock make wonderful components in containers. They are also valuable as fresh or dried cut flowers. To experience the yummy fragrance, you’ll need to plant at least half a flat. Stock are quick to flower from seed, but temperatures below 65°F are required for them to set bud. As a result, it may be wise to start seed indoors in early spring. Sow again in early fall for fall blooms.