For many years Stocks have been a popular feature of beds, borders and cottage gardens across garden designs in Ireland. Their soft grey and green foliage and densely clustered flowering spikes are known to most landscape gardeners in Ireland. They have a lovely fragrance which hangs in the air around them and makes them a delight in any garden. Despite the Mattiola or Stocks being so popular they are still a fairly complex flower. You need a fair bit of skill to raise them successfully for your garden design.
There are four basic groups. The first one is the Ten Week Stock group with M. incana as a parent. These plants are treated as half hardy annuals, sown in the spring under glass and then bedded out to flower in the summer about 10 weeks later. Their standard height is 1/5 foot but there are variations ranging from the Dwarf Ten Week Stock to the Excelsior and Mammoth strains.
There is a small third group, the East Lothian Stock which can be grown as either a half hardy annual or a biennial, and there is a fourth group which is quite different from the others. This is the Night Scented Stock. It is a hardy annual, sown in spring where it is to flower and the 1 Foot plants bear insignificant flowers which close during the day.
Top Landscaper Tips
1) Any well drained garden soil will do and the Mattiola or Stocks Flower will thrive in sun or light shade.
2) They grow between 1 and 2 1/5 feet.
3) The flowering period is from June to August (10 week stock group) or March to May (Brompton stock group).
4) Do not over water this flower.
5) Handle by the leaves and not the stem.