Family: Floss Flower, Pussy Foot, ASTERACEAE
A member of the daisy family, in spite of its appearance, Ageratum houstonianum is an easy-to-manage annual with many uses according to variety: tall-growing types to 60cm/ 2ft for bedding and cutting, dwarf cultivars for edging and container work.
Their colourings, in many shades of blue, mauve, white, make a refreshing contrast when used near many of the gaudier-flowered annuals. One useful point: they can be moved anytime, even in full bloom, to make a quick cover-up for bare patches.
Sow in boxes 8 weeks before the flowers are needed, do not cover, and expect germination as quickly as 5 days, when the temperature is around 21C/70F. Plant 20-30cm/8-12in apart in a warm spot, feed and water regularly. They’ll bloom from spring through into autumn in full sun or part shade. ‘Blue Blazer’ is a glowing violet, ‘Blue Mink’ a dwarf for edging. New ‘Spindrift’ has pure white flowers.