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Plant of the Month: Erysimum


Erysimum ‘Citrona’ series

At a glance:
Latin Name: Erysimum x hybrid ‘Citrona’ series
Common Name: Wallflower
Flowers: Orange or yellow spikes from fall through spring
Foliage: medium green mounds
Mature height: 18″
Hardiness: Winter annual
Soil: Not picky
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries

You know you’re just a little bored with only pansies and ornamental kale to plant every winter. Don’t you just long for something a little different? I know I do, but then again I have 66 acres to plant each winter. Yes, pansies are pretty, really tough, and come in every color imaginable, and ornamental kale adds texture and interest, but I just like a little variation in my garden!

I found just the thing: Erysimum ‘Citrona’! This winter annual, commonly known as wallflower, is tough enough to take Zone 7 winters right alongside pansies. You can plant it in early fall and it will flower heavily during warmer periods. The foliage and flowers may die back with severe freezes, but will regrow and reflower quickly with warmer weather. In March and April, it will put on another huge show of flowers. It has lasted in the Dallas Arboretum trial garden until mid-May before it finally flowered itself to death. If you can’t find ‘Citrona’ this fall, try planting it early next spring for bright splash of color.

Erysimum ‘Citrona’ series comes in two colors: a flaming orange and a bright, sunny yellow. If the colors don’t win you over, then pick a branch and take a whiff! The blooms have an incredible fragrance that rivals stock. Either color looks great combined with pansies, planted in containers or grouped in mass. Each plant grows 18 to 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. It prefers to grow in full sun with well-drained soil, but isn’t picky about soil type.

If you can’t find Erysimum ‘Citrona’ in your local nursery, ask them to order some! I warned many garden centers and growers last summer that this would be a plant I’d be promoting.

For more information on the plant trials program at the Dallas Arboretum visit my trial program Web site at