Lesser Knapweed is a tough and tolerant wild flower. It is an important nectar source for Bees, Large Skipper, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Painted Lady butterflies and some moths.
The purple thistle-like flowers are held above slightly hairy foliage all summer. Goldfinches visit the hard dark seedheads in the autumn to eat the seed.
It will grow anywhere except damp or acid soils and deep shade. Needs open soil to seed itself, but is generally a long-lived perennial. At home in meadows, on field margins, hedgerow bottoms and the middle of herbaceous borders! Also known as Hardheads or Paintbrush.
Sow any time of year, either directly or into good quality seed compost. Cover lightly with grit or fine compost and keep moist. A more even germination should result if seed is mixed with damp sand and kept in the fridge for a prechill of about 4weeks
Seed from Shropshire