Purple Plantain — Ornamental, Edible & Nutritious!

Regular price $3.50 USD

I have a special affinity for plantain (Plantago major). I've known this plant since childhood when I was first introduced to their powerful healing properties and it has come back up in adult life as an important herbal helper and nutritious food source.  Fresh leaves can be eaten when they are young and tender or cooked once they grow a little more tough and bitter. When I cut myself very badly a few years back, I juiced the leaves and soaked the wound in it. For stings from insects and nettles, I chew the fresh leaves and apply it directly to the area as a poultice. Infuse the leaves in olive oil to make a skin salve for the dry winter months. Dry the leaves for tea. You'll be surprised by the number of uses for this plant!

In my experience, this wonderfully colourful cultivar Plantago major f. rubrifolia shares the useful properties of the wild species, but it has the stunning appearance of an ornamental in the garden. I grow mine along the edges of a xeriscaped bed, but was surprised to find that they happily spread into even drier, hotter parts of the garden on its own. A friend of mine makes excellent use of the purple cultivar as a pop of colour along the banks of a ditch. Once established, purple plantain is a tough as nails perennial and vigorous self seeder that will grow in the very worst conditions: drought, soggy soil, heat, poor, and compacted soil. It can also take  quite a bit of foot traffic. 

 Special Notes: Full Sun. Will grow in shadier spots, but with less purple in the leaves. Moist, compacted, or dry soils. Edible, nutritious leafy vegetable and medicinal herb that is also ornamental.  Hardy down to zone 4. 

Approximately 100 seeds per packet.

Seed Starting and Growing: You'll get the easiest and best results if you simply scatter seed directly into the garden in the early spring. Plantain germinates best in cool soils and may have some difficulty underneath the hot lights of a typical seed-starting set-up. Germination can be a few days or up to a few weeks. Outdoors it can be a little slower to come on than other early season greens so patience is key. 

 

About You Grow Girl Seeds:

All of the seeds that I sell were lovingly homegrown and harvested by me, small scale, in my urban garden using organic methods only -- no chemicals or pesticides whatsoever. Tomato varieties are isolated to stay true using the flower bagging method and I test for germination quality. I take special care in choosing varieties that I find unusual, interesting and fabulous, and/or especially suitable for growing in small space gardens.