Native to Cenral and Southern Europe, this semi-evergreen perennial is also known as alpine balsam, starflower, and liver balsam.  It is a member of the plantain family, Plantaginaceae, that also includes snapdragon, turtlehead, amd Veronica.   Plants grow 2-3″ tall and form neat rosettes of blue-green, spoon-shaped leaves.  In late spring and summer plants produce ascending leafy stems with terminal clusters of small, starry, pale purplish pink to white flowers.   Although the plants are short-lived they self seed in favorable conditions.   Fairy foxglove like dry conditions and is a good choice for screes, containers, as well as alpine, rock, and wall gardens.  The genus name. Erinus, is from the Greek word erinos, the name of a basil-like plant in ancient times.  The specific epithet, alpinus, is the Latin word meaning living in the mountains above the timberline and refers to the natural habitat of the plant.

Type: Semi-evergreen perennial

Bloom: Small, starry, pale purplish-pink to white flowers in termal clusters in late spring to summer

Size: 2-3″ H x 2-3″ W

Light: Full sun; tolertes some shade

Soil: Average, dry to medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-7

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation:  Seed, root rosettes as cuttings in spring; may self-seed

Companion Plants: Arabis caucasica,  Campanula cochleariifolia, Aubrieta deltoidea

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen