Welcome to week 8 of our column entitled Pretty Petals. Each week we will introduce you to a flower that we are working with here in the studio as well as flowers that we absolutely adore. Please join us every Thursday for some floral eye-candy where you will learn about a variety of very special blooms. This week we are smitten with stock!
We have always thought that stock (matthiola incana) was an unfortunate name for such a spectacular flower! Stocks have single or double flowers with a 1-inch diameter and stand about 18”-24” tall. They are a wonderful line flower available in many intense colours: white, cream, yellow, peach, lavender, soft pink, fushia, purple and eggplant. Stocks are a heavily scented flower, combining both a sweet scent with spicy, resembling a clove-like fragrance. Did you know that they are a member of the mustard family?
This flower is a biennial treated as an annual and is a native of the Mediterranean coast. Stock is at its best in the temperate, humid weather of coastal areas, but now there are varieties that are more heat-tolerant for a longer flowering season elsewhere. Stock bedding plants are readily available in garden centres here in Southern Ontario for summertime blossoms.
Stocks are superb cut flowers, with the scent pervading an entire room. They provide height to an arrangement as well as a vast array colours. They last approximately one week in a vase, perishing from the bottom florets upward. Stocks should never be crowded together in a vase – lack of air circulation amongst the florets will cause the blooms to prematurely wither. Stocks can pollute the water in your vase quickly, so frequent water changes are essential. A stem of stock costs $3 to $4 for a single stem, and $4 to $6 for a stem of spray stock (a single stem with multiple shoots of blossoms).
Stocks are our go-to flower at Living Fresh. They provide many different looks: soft delicate shades, bold jewel tones, stark lines for contemporary pieces, ruffly florets for a garden look, and they smell heavenly. What more could a florist ask for?