A cottage garden favourite that flowers quickly from seed. Each dwarf stem becomes clothed in beautiful fringed blooms, which look impressive when small groups are planted together in borders or large containers.
Sow seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed compost. Cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a polythene bag at 15-20C (59-68F) until after germination which usually takes 14-21 days. Do not exclude light as this helps germination.
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into trays or 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise plants to cooler conditions for a few weeks before planting out after all risk of frost 45cm (18in) apart. Alternatively, sow in late summer in a cool greenhouse and then overwinter plants in cool, well lit conditions. Plant out the following spring. This method produces larger plants and is recommended if the soil is heavy or badly drained.