by Jennifer Poindexter
Perennials are a wonderful way to landscape your home without having to worry about replanting each year. If you’re in the market for a colorful perennial flower, don’t overlook big betony.
This plant has mounds of leaves which produce long stems. From the stems, vibrant blooms produce in pink, white, and lavender.
If you could use a pop of color around your home, big betony could be a great choice for you. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with how to grow this plant.
This is where I come in. I’ll walk you through each step of the growing process to ensure you have all the necessary information.
Here’s what you should know to grow big betony around your home or garden:
Growing Conditions for Big Betony
Big betony is hard to miss with its bright colors and floppy blooms which grow vertically up the stems of each plant.
If you’re ready to incorporate this plant into your growing areas, it has a few growing conditions which must be met.
The first thing you should consider is the soil. It must drain adequately to ensure water can reach the roots quickly and then drain away from the plant.
The next thing is big betony grows best in planting zones five through seven. Finally, ensure the plant is grown in an area with full to partial sunlight.
In warmer climates, a growing location with morning sun and protection from the afternoon heat might be best. This will protect the plant from becoming scorched.
Also, big betony is not a huge fan of high humidity. Therefore, protection in hot afternoons can help the plant fare better in warm or humid climates.
Once you’ve provided each of these needs in a growing location, you’re ready to stand back and watch big betony steal the show.
This plant should bloom from late spring to the middle of summer. It will grow to heights between one to two feet tall and equally as wide. Take this into consideration when deciding where to plant.
Big betony is also great for edging an area, serving as a border plant, is a great plant for ground cover, does well in containers, and is also a good choice for bouquets.
The flowers also invite pollinators into your garden area. This plant serves many purposes. Provide what it needs to ensure you can receive each benefit big betony offers.
How to Plant Big Betony
Big betony is easy to start around your home. You can grow this plant from seed or cutting. If you choose to start this flower from seed, you should start the seeds indoors approximately two months prior to the last frost.
It’s recommended to practice cold stratification with these seeds. This is the process of storing them in the fridge for approximately one month to trick the seeds into thinking they’ve gone through winter.
From there, you can either plant them directly outdoors (if all threat of frost is over) or plant them in a seed tray.
If you decide to start big betony indoors, place two seeds in each cell of the tray. Press them into well-draining soil that’s already in the tray and lightly cover them.
You can cover the seed tray with plastic wrap to provide a greenhouse effect. Lightly spritz the soil with a spray bottle of water to keep it moist until the seeds have sprouted and are forming true leaves.
Whether transplanting seedlings into your permanent growing space or directly sowing seeds into your garden, after frost is done, leave approximately one foot of space between each plant or seed. This will give the flower room to grow and avoid overcrowding.
Seeds are cost-effective. However, some people prefer to start big betony from cutting. If you have an established big betony plant around your home, remove a six inch cutting from the plant.
Dip the cutting in rooting hormone, and place it in a container filled with well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist for one month.
During this time, the cutting should have formed roots. Continue to care for the plant in the container until it grows strong enough to be transplanted in its permanent growing location.
Now that you know how to welcome big betony to your garden, let’s discuss how to care for the plant once established.
Caring for Big Betony
You’ve planted big betony in your growing location. Now what? There are a few things this plant will need from you.
Big betony requires consistent water, pruning, dividing, and deadheading. Let’s start our discussion by learning the proper way to water this plant.
When watering big betony, use the deep watering method. This is when you water the plant for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week.
By watering this way, it ensures moisture reaches the roots of the plant at the time of watering. However, it also saturates the ground around and beneath the plant.
As the days progress, and the plant needs more water, it’ll dig its roots deeper into the soil to find moisture.
In the process, this will help the plant develop a stronger root system which frequently equates to a healthier plant.
To ensure you don’t overwater, simply test the soil with your finger. By inserting your finger into the dirt next to the plant, you can feel if there’s moisture to the first knuckle.
When the soil is dry at this point, you’ll know it’s time to have another deep watering session. If not, wait a few days and test the soil again.
Once big betony is well-established, the plant is quite drought tolerant and may not require as much water.
The next thing you must do to care for this plant is to deadhead. When blooms are spent, remove them from the plant to keep it looking healthy and vibrant.
Plus, it helps the plant to redirect its energy to its younger portions and ensures it doesn’t waste any energy on the older portions which are fading.
Again, this can encourage more blooming and a more bountiful plant in the long run.
You should also prune the plant heavily after flowering has stopped to keep it healthy.
After your plants have been in the ground for a few years, you might need to divide them. If they’re planted in the sun, they may require division every three years.
If big betony is planted in only partial sunlight, it may not grow as quickly. Therefore, your plants will probably only need to be divided every five years.
When the plant isn’t blooming as heavily as it once did, dig it up. Using a trowel, divide the plant all the way through the roots.
Then transplant the newly divided plants into an area with proper growing conditions. Try to do this at the beginning or end of a growing season to ensure you don’t disrupt the blooming cycle of the plant.
Finally, as the plant becomes dormant during the fall, pull away any dead foliage or stems. This will prepare the plant for a long winter.
By performing these few acts of care towards big betony, your plant should have what it needs to remain healthy and thriving around your home.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact Big Betony
Big betony has few enemies around the garden which is great news for anyone growing this plant. In fact, this flower is even deer and rabbit resistant.
The only thing you should be mindful of when growing big betony is that you only plant in well-draining soil.
If you don’t, the plant could develop fungal issues including rot. Stay ahead of fungal disease by planting where the water drains quickly away from the plant.
Also, ensure big betony receives some sunlight throughout the day to warm the soil. You should also keep adequate space between each plant to provide ample airflow.
This will deter the plant from growing in cold, excessively wet soil which is the appropriate breeding ground for fungal disease.
Practice these few tips when planting big betony, and you should have few problems threatening your plant once it’s in place.
How to Harvest Big Betony
Big betony is actually an herb which can be used to make tea. When you want to utilize this plant, be sure to use scissors to remove the foliage by cutting at the bottom of the stem.
It’s important that you hang the plant in bundles to dry. It can’t hold up to a dehydrator. Once the plant has fully dried, break away the stem, and keep the blooms as whole as you can.
Store them in a glass jar away from sunlight. They seem to last longer when stored in a cool, dark, and dry location.
Though big betony is dainty when being dried and stored for long-term purposes, it’s a beneficial plant that provides beauty and is useful in the kitchen as well.
This concludes our discussion on how to grow big betony around your home or garden. Hopefully, you feel confident enough to tackle growing a new plant in the future.
Whether you’re new to gardening or just looking for something different to grow, this could be the plant for you.