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An alternative to Erysimum? (perennial wallflower)

Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,385
Hello, I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a good plant for me that I could have in my garden to replace my two Erysimum Bowles Mauve bushes.

When I say replace - I don't mean something that looks similar or same size, rather something that flowers over the same period and is good for bees and butterflies.

See I want to get rid, but I can't bring myself to do it when they've been so amazing for bees this year.

The Erysimum started flowering really early this second year, I can't remember exactly when but it was certainly by mid spring. They provided a huge number of flowers early on when there wasn't much else flowering and the early bees were all over them.

They still are now but there's a lot more available for them in the garden from May onwards

I'd ideally like something much smaller that doesn't get so messy, shrub or herbaceous and if it was able to flower for the same length of time that would be amazing. But really, if it was able to at least span that March/April/May part of the year that would be great!

Thank you in advance
East Yorkshire


  • B3B3 Posts: 26,412
    Lavender. That's what I'm replacing mine with. I've gone right off ebm😐
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,819
    Agree with B3.  I've really gone off EBM, and will be ripping them out at our allotment and at home.  Our Penstemon Garnet is much prettier, and just as floriferous, but you have to remember to deadhead it.  The bees love it.  You can prune it hard each Spring, and it will come back just as strong.  It's also easy to divide into smaller, additional plants.
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,385
    Thanks! The problem with lavender and penstemon is that they don't flower early enough to serve that role of attracting the early bees. 

    Lavender doesn't flower for very long at all. At least not in my garden and I have lots already! 
    East Yorkshire
  • bullfinchbullfinch Posts: 678
    I love shrubby salvias, they come in lots of different colours, and are easy to take cuttings from, these are some of the ones I took in the spring 🙂 and the bees love them
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,551
    For length of flowering time, Bowles Mauve would be hard to beat, but how about some of the smaller shrubby salvias? They're later flowering than your ideal range but when they get going they carry on until the frosts come. My main spring colour comes from bulbs and self sown biennials - forgetmenots, honesty, ravenswing cowparsley and Aquilegia. None of them are longlasting but by the time they're overr the salvias, penstemons, lavender etc are getting going so they fill a gap.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,412
    If you want something for early bees, pulmonaria will fower from late winter here but looks really sorry for itself come july, but you can remove the dead leaves. It self seeds prolifically and you can keep the ones with the more interesting foliage and compost the rest
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    You can mix lavenders. In my garden French lavender flowers April-June (one variety April-July), English late May-August and then again in autumn and intermediate July-November.
    I can't think about anything with flowers for as long as Erysimum BM. Good early flowers for pollinators in my garden are some of the spring bulbs (species tulips are a favourite), flowering shrubs and trees (cherries), ajuga (super easy, flowers April-May and very loved by bumblebees), and then alliums in May. Nemesias also start quite early here (late April/early May), even earlier if I overwinter them in the greenhouse and they are my longest flowering plants.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,325
    edited August 2020
    I got rid of Bowles Mauve long ago...  do you like Rosemary @Mr. Vine Eye ?

    ..if interested, the one to get is Rosemary officinalis 'Miss Jessop's' [Salvia rosmarinus 'Miss Jessop's]... as you can see it starts to flower end Feb, and reaches full flush during March-May..  evergreen, bushy upright, and can be cut as much as liked, whenever... an essential herb, and of course for cooking too.  I don't have a photo of it in full flush, just when it starts... grows to 6 foot if required..

    East Anglia, England
  • FireFire Posts: 17,305
    My shrubby salvias flower from May to the frosts. I don't like BM either.
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,385
    Thank you for the suggestions very helpful, I do like rosemary Msrlorena, I have one grown from seed in the garden now, still quite small but growing.

    Ive got a crab apple tree and an apple tree - but the apple hasn’t yet blossomed, hopefully this next spring it will.

    coreopsis is another one I’d like to replace as it looks messy unless you deadhead regularly and it’s awkward to do. But again, it flowers for ages and really attracts the bees.
    East Yorkshire
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