Baffle friends with this late summer treasure. A sturdy dome of stems carries salvia-like leaves, then from July until October white buds inflate into masses of spectacular deep violet ramshorn-like flowers. This is an unlikely relative of acanthus ("Bear's Breeches")!
For best results, sow immediately onto a good soil-based compost. Cover the seeds with fine grit or compost to approximately their own depth. They can be sown at any time, and germination can sometimes be quicker if kept at 15 to 20 degrees C. We sow most seeds in an unheated greenhouse and wait for natural germination, as many seeds have built-in dormancy mechanisms, often waiting for natural spring germination, hence giving them a full season of growth.