In Bloom for the Winter Solstice

A number of years back, one of the seed exchanges we belonged to listed Pycnostachys urticifolia, aka Blue Witch’s Hat. How cool, I thought, and with a common name like that, maybe it will be in fun bloom for Halloween! I clicked the “add to order” box without doing any more research.

The seed arrived and it was then that I sought the technical data:  Pycnostachys urticifolia has deep cobalt blue spires, with a noted bloom period of late fall into winter. It is not hardy here in southern New England…it winters over outdoors only in zones 9-10Blue Witches Hat grows quickly from seed and can flower the first year, with an eventual height of 4-5′. It is considered a shrub where it is hardy but its late blooming time hinders its sales potential  as a tender perennial in colder climates (which might explain why it’s seldom seen on plant lists). If you want to grow it on well you will need indoor space, either a greenhouse or a large sunroom, but what a treat it is to see its conical spires of intensely colored indigo blossoms on the shortest days of the year.

Lucky us, we have a greenhouse and now, at the Winter Solstice,  Pycnostachys provides us with lovely stems to add to a holiday bouquet of white variegated Boxwood and silvery Elk Horn Cedar cuttings.

Would you make room for this in your indoor winter space?


2 thoughts on “In Bloom for the Winter Solstice”

  1. Yes please!!! I have a space to grow it in my house in the winter. Are you selling seeds? Can it be transplanted outside to grow for the summer (or the pot at least moved outside)? Any other tips for getting it to grow and thrive!


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