Fairies' Thimbles (kok-lee-ah-ree-i-FO-lee-a)
The species name means 'Leaves like Cochlearia'. Plants bloom in summer with small bell shaped flower clustered on top of 3-4 inch tall stems. This species is slowly creeping from slender rhizomes and forms tufted rosettes of foliage up to 12 inches wide. Plants have a low mat of tiny green leaves, with short stems that end in small little dangling lavender-blue bell-like flowers which are produced in great profusion. First year flowering.
Zones 5-7, (4) with dry cover over winter.
Native to South and Eastern Europe. Grow in well drained but moisture retentive soils in full sun to light shade. A good rock garden subject.
This offering will bloom in 14 weeks with bark blue flowers atop nice uniform compact plants that grow 4 inches or so tall. Very useful for pot culture, blooming almost all year but the species C. cochleariifolia is a long day plant with flower initiation needing a minimum of 14 hours of light and for best flowering results 16 hours. Surface sow seeds and use 70 F, germination starts in three weeks. Best to seal up seed sowing in a clear plastic bag to keep the soil moist, the small seeds and seedlings can dry out quickly. This strain produces more uniform plants with tighter-compact habit and better flowering results the first year.