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Matthiola incana Stock, Gillyflower

Edward F. Gilman, Teresa Howe, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Stock is an upright annual growing to about 18 inches tall with 1½ inch diameter flowers borne toward the top of the plant. Stock is well adapted to planting in central Florida in late winter for a good flower display for about one month in late spring.

Flower - Matthiola incana: Stock, Gillyflower
Figure 1. Flower - Matthiola incana: Stock, Gillyflower
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Matthiola incana

Pronunciation: math-EYE-oh-luh in-KAY-nuh

Common name(s): stock, gillyflower, tenweeks stock

Family: Brassicaceae

Plant type: biennial; perennial; herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Figure 2)

Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul

Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun

Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Nov; Dec

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Nov; Dec

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: mass planting

Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 2.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Plant habit: upright

Plant density: open

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: undulate

Leaf shape: oblanceolate

Leaf venation: reticulate

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous

Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: not applicable

Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: lavender; pink; red; white; yellow

Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering; pleasant fragrance


Fruit shape: no fruit

Fruit length: no fruit

Fruit cover: no fruit

Fruit color: not applicable

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable

Current year stem/twig color: green

Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: clay; loam; sand; acidic; slightly alkaline

Drought tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 12 to 18 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: not applicable

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Pest resistance: very sensitive to one or more pests or diseases which can affect plant health or aesthetics

Use and Management

Cultivars in the 'Harmony' series including 'Harmony Cherry Blossom' and 'Harmony Purple' are well suited for Florida.

Related species: M. longipetala var. bicornis (evening stock) is an unsightly annual that adds night time fragrance to the landscape.

Publication #FPS402

Release Date:November 27, 2023

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

Related Topics

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Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS402, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus, Department of Environmental Horticulture; Teresa Howe, former coordinator, research programs and services, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture, and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design, Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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