How to Grow Burnet–Sanguisorba

Great burnet
Great burnet plant in meadow Sanguisorba officinalis.

Burnet, Sanguisorba, is a rhizomatous perennial that typically grows to about 3 feet tall. Bare stems are topped dark red to black-purple flower spikes.

Burnet, commonly called Great Burnet, is a welcome addition to cottage and wildflower gardens. It can be placed in the middle of mixed borders.

Burnet is a culinary herb whose leaves, especially young ones, are excellent in salads and soups. It’s flowers add late-season color to herb gardens.

Get to Know Burnet

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: 4 to 8
  • Hardiness: Rhizome is hardy
  • Height and width: 2½ to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide
  • Foliage: Compound pinnate, medium green basal leaves are serrated; stems are sometimes tinged with red.
  • Flowers: Small terminal flower spikes 1½ inch long are dark red to black purple
  • Bloom time: Late summer into autumn
  • Uses: Beds and borders, herb garden
  • Botanical name: Sanguisorba officinalis
  • Common name: Burnet, Great burnet

Where to Plant Burnet

  • Plant burnet in full sun.
  • Grow burnet in humus-rich, well-drained soil. It will grow easily in average to medium-rich soil.

When to Plant Burnet

  • Set out established plants in spring or late summer.

Planting and Spacing Burnet

  • Space burnet 2 to 3 feet apart.

How to Water and Feed Burnet

  • Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilize burnet with an all-purpose fertilizer in spring and again at midsummer.

Burnet Care

  • Taller plants need staking or other support.
  • Burnet is nearly deer resistant.
  • Burnet has no serious pests or disease problems.

Burnet Propagation

  • Burnet freely self-seeds. Prompt removal of spent flowers will prevent unwanted self-seeding.

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