Cephalaria-gigantea2This clump forming herbaceous perennial is native from the Caucasus to Siberia where it grows in  meadows and mountain pastures.  It  is a member of the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, that also includes weigelia, Centranthus, and valerian. The dark green basal leaves are up to sixteen inches long and pinnately lobed. The light yellow flowers are 2.5” across and are carried singly on wiry branched stems with few leaves in summer over a long bloom time. Flowers attract bees and butterflies and are good for the vase.   The plant  is tall but light and is an outstanding choice for the back of the border where it provides both attractive foliage and beautiful flowers and gives an airy, informal look to the garden.  The genus name, Cephalaria, comes from the Greek word kephale meaning a head and refers to the flowerhead.  The specific epithet, gigantea, is the Latin word meaning relating to the giants and refers to the height of the plant.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Light yellow flowers 2.5” across in summer over a long bloom time.

Size: 4-6.5’ H x 2-4’ W

Light: Full sun; tolerates some shade

Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained but tolerates less

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Care: May need staking; deadhead to promote prolong bloom time; cut back to basal foliage after flowering.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division in spring

Companion Plants: Columbine, coneflower, agapanthus

By Karen