Developing Longwood's Blue Cineraria

For many years, ‘Cornflower Blue’ cineraria (Pericallis × hybrida) was a traditional crop in the late winter/early spring display at Longwood Gardens.  When our commercial supplier stopped distributing this seed, it fell upon our researchers to maintain our own supply. The vigor of the resulting plants deteriorated with each generation, however.

In 1995, two staff members traveled to the Canary Islands to collect seed of native Pericallis papyracea. These were crossed with the ‘Cornflower Blue’ strain to stabilize the seed line for full-sized cobalt blue petals, a large amount of flowers per plant and plant height. 

Researchers at Longwood now grow specific strains of cineraria in sterile tissue culture which allows the plants to be maintained indefinitely.  When seed production is necessary, several parent strains are brought out of tissue culture and traditionally grown to produce flowers. These plants are crossed to produce the seed stock for the following year. This seed will then produce the wonderful blue cineraria that are always an eye catcher in our late winter/early spring display.

From Our Blog - Cinerarias

  • A Sea of Blue to See
    a blue flower with green stems


    A Sea of Blue to See

    Late March and early April is a time when people are ready to get out of the house and explore the outdoors after all the snow has melted and tiny springtime treasures begin to emerge. At Longwood Gardens we're just bursting at the seams with beautiful flowers 365 days of the year!

  • Longwood Hybrid Cineraria

    Longwood Hybrid Cineraria

    Cineraria (Pericallis × hybrida) is an annual plant that Longwood has used in our late winter/early spring displays since the Conservatory opened in 1921.