Garden stock plants

Garden stock plants

Last updated on April 7th, 2024 at 08:22 am

Garden stock plants are also known as Matthiola incana plants.  Commonly called Stock Plants, hoary Stock, or just Stock.  These colorful plants are grown as annuals in the Southwest and other parts of the country.  They are grown and used in flowering bed gardens and planted for their pleasant sweet smell and their wonderous flowering color.

Stock Flowering Plants

Stock Flowering Plants

Stock plants are for landscape color during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.  When I first started with plants (a long time ago) I would confuse them with snapdragons. It is a tender perennial and will do well in USDA zones 7-10. 

Garden stock plants
A row of purple stock plants in a typical front yard.

Propagate Stock Plants

The benefit of having stock plants in the garden is that you can propagate new plants easily. By taking cuttings or dividing the plant, you can create multiple new plants from one parent plant. This not only saves you money but also gives you the opportunity to share your favorite plants with friends and family. It’s like having your own little nursery right in your backyard!

Not only do stock plants provide a constant source of new plants, but they also offer a sense of stability and continuity in the garden. As the backbone of your garden, these plants create a foundation for your overall design.

They provide a consistent backdrop against which other plants can shine. With their reliable growth habit and predictable flowering or foliage patterns, stock plants bring a sense of balance and harmony to your outdoor space.

When To Plant

Springtime is when they will look their best, however, you can plant them in partial shade to make them last longer into the summer seasons.  It is considered a herbaceous perennial in cooler type climates. The most common Stock will grow from 1.5 to about 2.5 ft. tall and about 4″ wide.  There are also the tall ones that reach up to 3 ft. tall.

Stock plants are hardy easy to care for plants with very little maintenance involved  Watering and occasional fertilizing are all you need to do.  The blooms are long-lasting and will generate more without you having to deadhead them. There are over 50 cultivars of stock plants.

The most common flower is purple but they also come in light pink, white, and yellow.  They will go perfectly as a flowering border plant in spring.  They like well-drained soil and need to be watered more often during the early summer months.

Best to fertilize once per month starting in early spring and ending in mid-summer. Use a good fertilizer with a higher analysis of phosphorus it’s the middle number on all fertilizers.

Garden stock plants
Nice-looking dark pink Matthiola incana plants.


Problems with Stock plants

They are hardy plants with few problems.  Root rot can occur if your soil does not drain well. The strong sweet smell will repel most insects and diseases are almost non-existent. Spray with Neem oil or Insecticidal soaps when and if insects do show up.

Where to place these plants?

Plant them in flower beds along the border wall or in the middle with other shorter-type plants.  They will bloom from early spring until it gets really hot.  You can also use them in containers plant them in the middle of the pot and use shorter trailing plants for a great effect.

Garden stock plants
Stock in a Terra Cotta Pot


Matthiola incana plants
Stock in a container with creeping phlox overflowing the pot.


Geraniums are good companion plants.

Read more about Matthiola incana at – Wikipedia.

USDA zones 7-10

Stock Flowering Plants


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