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Glorious in the Garden Now… Cephalaria Gigantea

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Glorious in the Garden Now… Cephalaria Gigantea

Cephalaria Gigantea

Welcome pollinating insects and wildlife with one plant known for its nectar-rich beauty is the equivalent of opening a five-star bee hotel.

This lightly scented, statuesque beauty is Cephalaria gigantea is full of ‘Joie de Vivre’, standing ready to attract bumbly little fellows. It’s ‘see through’ architectural stems a picturesque view to behold.

When and where to plant: 

Best planted during May – June, this delightful plant will flower from late-spring until September. Producing beautiful blooms, Cephalaria gigantea makes a great cut-flower with a vase life of 7-10 days, plus it can be dried too. 

Happy at the back of a herbaceous bed (it needs some space) as it is in an open woodland clearing and looks great underplanted with bulbs. Growing to 2.5m with handsome, fresh-green foliage, it is most similar in habit and form to the more widely known Verbena bonariensis. 

Being a fabulous choice for positive conservation planting moment, introducing this flower to the garden can bring a sense of restorative calm, and if you have the space Cephalaria gigantea is a great opener for prairie planting, it’s natural habitat being open meadows and pastures.

Marry it together with Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ a spectacular grass, the midsummer beauty of Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flower’ and Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ for a dreamy escape that will take you all the way through to Winter.

Tolerance and resistance: 

This hardy perennial is a gentle giant, a prolific producer of large, soft buttermilk flowers, almost honeycomb-like blooms with crinkle petals that sit atop strong branching stems.

A fairly low maintenance perennial, Cephalaria gigantea is best planted in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Supporting itself proudly in areas of low wind, Cephalaria gigantea can require a little extra help from a tripod of stakes, when planted in more exposed gardens. 


Producing an abundance of pollen-filled blooms, bees, butterflies and hover-flies are all attracted to the paradisal large flowers and they are likely to have a party together on just one flower. Our feathered friends covet the seed heads in late-summer. You can leave the seed heads for winter interest and it’s majestic height, though this plant is best cut close to the ground in February. 

Curious cuttings

This plant is bunny-proof and the deer are not taken to nibbling on it’s flower, although only lightly scented they are not keen on scent. 

Cephalaria comes from the Greek word ‘kephale’ and meaning head denoting the flower head suffix ‘alaria’ meaning ‘and appendages wings’ of its delightful outer petals. 

Discover more plants that are glorious in the garden, design tips and trending techniques by browsing our stories. 

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