Painted Tongue


Painted tongue was a favorite of the Victorians who loved its rich, jewel tones in gold, red, pink, blue and many other colors and patterns, even herringbone. This annual reaches up to 3-feet tall. It’s a wonderful cut flower—perfect for a historic garden or any place you’d like to have something a bit unusual.

Painted tongue is a long bloomer and will bear flowers from summer until the first frost. Attracts butterflies and birds.

Limited seed supply.

Packet: 25 seeds.  $3.00

Growing Painted Tongue

Choose a spot with full sun to light shade and moist but well-drained soil.

Transplant seedlings into the garden about two weeks before last frost date.

Mulch to keep the roots cooler longer.

Pinch off spent blooms to promote further flowering.

GERMINATION: 7-14 days at 70-75ºF (21-24ºC).
CULTURE: Indoors – Sow 6-8 weeks before last frost.

Darkness is needed for germination. Transplant outside after danger of frost is past.
TIP: Pinch center when about 5″ to encourage branching. May require support. Protect from wind; deadhead regularly.

Plants not firmly established prior to hot weather will burn.
LIGHT/SOIL: Full sun; average, well-drained soil.
SPACING: 8-12″.
USE: Containers, borders, or cut flowers.
HARVEST: Fresh – Flowers beginning to open. Blooms all summer. Wonderful for containers, borders and also as a cut flower. Vase life of 5-7 days.

Painted tongue does not suffer from any disease problems, but is prone to spider mites, thrips and mealy bugs. Check plants for pests before moving any plants indoors or into a greenhouse. Leaf damage will become visible if pests are present and a regular treatment of insecticidal soap will remove these bugs.

Keep soil evenly moist. Must have excellent drainage; prefers cool temperatures; water moderately—will fail in soggy or heavy non-draining soil (clay); may decline with high temperatures if not well established before hot weather sets in.

Fertilize lightly – sensitive to nitrogen – every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer such as fish emulsion. Do not fertilize in the winter. A granular slow release fertilizer applied annually in the early spring will work as well.

Does best in bright indirect sunlight coming from the South/East/West– As a cool-weather plant, painted tongue prefers temperatures of 50 to 75deg. F. medium humidity and full sun. Warmer weather may cause the flowers to slow or decline; in warmer climates, ensure the plants receive afternoon shade.

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