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The stock flower, also called Gillyflower, is an attractive and fragrant annual flower. There are plenty of different single and double bloom varieties. Stock can create lovely colour in your garden for a long season throughout the spring and summer.

Growing stock:

You might be surprised to learn that stocks are actually part of the brassica family. The clove-like fragrance would give no clue as to this plant's family origin. Stocks are a great plant for a scent garden or for containers.

Stock seeds are most usually sown indoors in early spring and then planted out later in that season. If well cared for, stocks can flower throughout the summer and even into the autumn. If you plant stock seeds later in the year, stocks can also stand through the winter in most parts of the UK and will provide early flowers the following year.

Stocks will grow best in sunny or part shaded areas in moist yet well-drained soil. They should be planted around 15-20cm apart but will tolerate a little crowding. They arguably look best when planted in larger clumps of mixed varieties. When planting be sure to water well and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Stock plants will benefit from a general purpose organic fertiliser or feed applied upon planting out and then once a month or so thereafter.

When growing stock from seed, you can tell which of the seeds will give double blooms by keeping the seedlings at a temperature of below 10 degrees C for a week. The palest seedlings will have double flowers.

You can prolong the period of flowering by making sure that you deadhead the plants assiduously. Stock flowers are also lovely as cut flowers and can enliven and scent your home as well as your garden.

Some varieties of stocks are taller than others. This means that by choosing the right varieties you can create some layering in mixed flower borders.

Why grow stock in the garden?

Stocks are grown primarily for their colours and scent. Stock comes in a wide variety of colours and heights and can therefore look good in any garden. They can be grown in beds or containers and can be brought into the house as cut flowers.

With their vibrancy of appearance and scent, stocks are great in mixed arrays to attract bees and other beneficial insect life to your garden. Purple flowers in particular will attract pollinating bees which can aid you in your other growing efforts.

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