From the Brassicaceae family, Stock is a flowering plant that is botanically called as Matthiola incana. This plant is native to South Africa and to some parts of Mediterranean area. They are grown now in England and London and in states of America. In other places, it is called Virginia stock because the plant offers an abundant bloom in the state of Virginia.
Stocks or gillyflowers are a hardy plant that can also grow well in pots and containers. The sweet scent of their blooms is sure to fill your garden or your front porch in April and May. It is known commonly as Gillyflower from the family of mustards, broccoli, cabbage, and turnips. The flowers are edible with a distinct taste, and it is a staple salad addition.
The blooms of this plant come with oval leaves with teeth on the entire surface. The blooms come with a distinct sweet scent and in colors of white, yellow, pink, lilac, and magenta. Its plant can grow from 8 to 15 feet when in full sun and in proper care. The wonderful array of colors and exceptional scent or fragrance make this flowering plant very appreciated not only in England and America but all throughout the world.
History of Matthiola
The name Matthiola was given to Stock flower in honor of Pietro Andrea Mattioli. He was the Italian physician and botanist in the 16th Century. He chose to cultivate this plant because he thought that it contains some medicinal benefits. This was also the time when Stocks were bred in Saxony. They were breeds of new colors resulted from the gardeners’ successful cultivation. In fact, each village there was assigned with own official color by the local government.
The name Gillyflower was first mentioned by Thomas Glover in 1676 in his published Account of Virginia. Also, there were records that show that Thomas Jefferson planted the plant in one of his Monticello gardens. In Renaissance England, the common name of Gillyflower was referred to Stocks, Wallflowers, and Carnations.
Meaning of Matthiola
According to our local flower shop, Matthiola flowers range from light shades to dark shades. Each color symbolizes different sentiments. The flowers in yellow shades speak of happiness while white flowers are best for weddings. There are red and pink Stocks, too, and they represent love, passion, romance, and emotions. Blue and purple flowers are used to symbolize joy.
Matthiola flowers mean happiness for long life and contentment in life. It also speaks of a beauty that will never fade. It is also a symbol of spiritual purity. Although it is not associated with birth or is considered as a birth flower, yet is a symbol used for Taurus sign.
Matthiola flower is a versatile flower. It is used widely as filler for any flower arrangements because of its sweet and spicy scent and beautiful colors. The plant is an annual, perennial, and biennial. There are specific months for the flowers to bloom, which means its beauty and fragrance will not be enjoyed throughout the year. The plant prefers to bloom during the cold weather and will take a break during the hot summer days. When given the right care and growing procedures, it can bloom even in the summer season and spring.
Most of the varieties of Stocks today are well-bred doubles, compared to the wild and natural single variety. The height has changed, too, from the natural 12 inches height to 30 inches. The plant and its blooms are hardier, too. The double flowered Stocks are more expensive because of the genes cultivated to produce it. They are sterile, too.
Stocks have been used for floral arrangements as gifts and home or event displays. The flower is also a favorite wedding piece not just as filler as it was used to be but as the main flower for the bridal bouquet. Stock flowers are also best for gardens and doorsteps. The sweet scent will be noticed by the passersby. They can grow well in pots and containers for indoor gardens. The unbeatable mixture of colors will add your garden to an attractive dazzle of blooms.
Stocks are available in different varieties. Among the popular ones are Matthiola bicornis, Dwarf Stocks, Trysomic, Brompton, and more. The bicornis stocks are those with such a particular scent but mostly noticed during nighttime. The Trycomic stocks are the earliest to bloom. This type offers a wide range of colors of blooms. The dwarf variety also comes in different colors like red, purple, and white. This type can grow up to 15 inches only. The Brompton variety comes in double petals.
How to Care for Matthiola
Growing Matthiola in cool areas produces more blooms. This type of plant prefers the cool humid weather. They are most commonly seen in the coastal areas where the temperature is low. This plant tolerates light frost and winter weather.
To care for Stocks in your gardens and in your indoor pots, it is important to know that they need moist and well-drained soil, usually the type high in organic matters. The planting location ideal for this plant is in full sun but in areas where climate or temperature is low.
While the plant is growing, regular watering and feeding may be required to keep the roots healthy and developed. For the perennial type, cutting or pruning the plant once each year, ideally at the end of the summer season will help the plant to bloom more in the next blooming period. Proper plant care will yield not just beautiful flowers on its season but a bloom of sweet fragrance.