One of the most fool proof and versatile of all summer flowering annuals. They produce an abundance of colourful blooms all held proudly above a blanket of foliage. Useful for bedding and border work of any description and in particular for carpeting dry, sunny banks, as they will thrive in soils where few other plants will even live. Flowers summer to frosts.
Culinary note: The peppery flavour of the leaves and colourful flowers will enrich salads and the unripen seeds can used like capers – delicious combined with cream cheese or butter in canapés.
Sow outdoors where they are to flower. Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth before sowing. Sow 20mm ( 3/4in) deep, in rows 30cm (12in) apart.
For Earlier Flowering: Sow seed, 1cm (1/2″) deep, 3 seeds per 7.5cm (3in) pot, in free draining, damp, seed compost. Place at 20-29C (68-86F) until after germination.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions before planting out after all risk of frost. They flower most freely in poor dryish soils and full sun.