Cerinth (Cerinth Major Purpurascens) Or Melinet

The cerinthe, also called melinet (Cerinth Major Purpurascens) is a fast-growing, annual or biennial plant, forming a tuft, of the family Boraginaceae, like borage to which it does not really resemble. With its purple-blue flowers and foliage with bluish tints, this plant of Mediterranean origin (-5° C), with taproot, offers early flowering and does not require maintenance: it deserves to be rediscovered!

Cerinth (Cerinth major purpurascens) or melinet

On branched stems, the deciduous leaves are cordiform, smooth, bluish-green with cream, and fairly thick like succulents.

The tubular flowers are 3 cm long, they are a purple red, surrounded by bracts purplish blue which makes them particularly remarkable and ornamental in the garden, for all kinds of situations: ground cover, embankment, rock, solid, hotpot...

Honeycombs attract bees and other pollinating insects before producing large, easy-to-recover black seeds for re-planting.

  • Family: Boraginaceae
  • Type: annual or biennial
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin
  • Color: purple / blue flowers
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: no
  • Planting: from spring to autumn
  • Flowering: April to September
  • Height: 30 to 50cm

Ideal floor and exposure for the cerinth

The kernel is grown in the shade or sun in a fertile, light and well-drained soil but its origins allow it to tolerate poor, stony, sandy soils.

Date of sowing and planting of the cornice

The cerinthe spontaneously reseeds during the blooming season which will give you flowering in the following year, from spring to fall.

But you can also seed in pots or, ideally, directly in place by collecting the seeds for example. September sowing will blossom early in April, spring sowing will give flowers in summer and summer sowing will bloom in the fall.

Board of maintenance and cultivation of the cerinthe

You can pinch young seedlings to branch off early. Otherwise, the corneal does not require any maintenance, no watering either.

Diseases, pests and parasites of the cerinth

Cerinthe is very resistant to diseases and parasites even if snails and slugs attack young plants.

Location and favorable association of the cornice

It is a plant that is grown in the massifs with perennials, grasses or annuals, but it can easily cover an embankment embankment, a rock garden or be installed in a planter to offer beautiful potées.

There are nearly 10 species in total, annual, biennial or perennial, but the great melinet (Cerinth Major Purpurascens) is most common with even cultivars such as Cerinth major purpurascens 'Kiwi blue', Cerinthe major purpurascens 'Pride of Gibraltar'

You will also find melinets with purple yellow flowers: the little melinet (Cerinth minor) and the glabrous or alpineCerinth glabra syn. Cerinth alpina).

(photo credit: Sarah Barker - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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