How to Grow Catananche – Cupid’s Dart

Cupid's dart, Catananche caerulea

Cupid’s dart, Catananche caerulea, is an old-fashioned summer-blooming perennial. Solitary lilac-blue or white ray flowers are borne atop wiry stems.

Catananche produces mounds of grayish-green, lance-shaped leaves. The flower clusters have strap-shaped ray florets and usually come in lavender blue but sometimes white or yellow as well.

Catananche is a good choice for the front or middle of a flower border. Catananche flowers can be dried for winter decoration.

Get to Know Catananche – Cupid’s Dart

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 3 to 8
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -30°F (-34°C)
  • Height and width: 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) tall and wide; grows in mounds or tufts
  • Foliage: Narrow gray-green leaves, 8 to 12 inches long mostly at the base of a leafless stem; leafless 24-inch (61cm) stems
  • Flowers: Lavender blue or white flowerheads to 2 inches across similar to cornflowers with straw-like, shining bracts; flowers also in white and yellow.
  • Flower colors: Blue, white
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Flower borders, cutting, dried flowers
  • Common name: Cupid’s dart
  • Botanical name: Catananche
  • Family name: Asteraceae
  • Origin: Mediterranean

Where to Plant Catananche – Cupid’s Dart

  • Grow Catananche in full sun or very light shade.
  • Catananche grows best in humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Catananche Uses and Companions

  • Use Catananche in a sunny border.
  • Catananche flowers are good for cutting and drying.
  • Good garden companions for Catananche include Anthemis, Armeria, Lychnis coronaria, Oenothera, Sysyrinchium striatum.

When to Plant Catananche – Cupid’s Dart

  • Set container-grown plants in the garden in spring after the last frost.
  • Sow seed indoors in late winter for bloom the first year.
  • Sow seed outdoors where plants are to grow in mid-spring.

Planting and Spacing Catananche – Cupid’s Dart

  • Space Catananche 18 to 24 inches (45-61cm) apart.

How to Water and Feed Catananche – Cupid’s Dart

  • Keep the soil evenly moist for best blooms.
  • Fertilize Catananche with an all-purpose fertilizer in spring.
Cupid’s dart, Catananche caerulea

Catananche Care

  • Remove faded flowers to prolong bloom time.
  • Divide clumps every two years in early spring to keep plants vigorous.

Catananche Pests and Diseases

  • Catananche is usually pest and disease free.

Catananche Propagation

  • Catananche seeds germinate in about 21 days at 68°F (20°C).
  • Propagate Catananche by division.
  • Propagate by root cuttings in winter.

Catananche Varieties to Grow

  • Catananche caerulea, cupid’s dart: Grows 18 to 24 inches (45-61cm) tall; grassy 12-inch leaves; bears solitary 1- to 2-inch wide lilac-blue flowers atop wiry stems in midsummer; cultivars include ‘Alba’ which has white flowers and ‘Major’ which has deep lavender-blue flowers.

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