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Matthiola incana Stock, Gillyflower1

Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe 2


Stock is an upright annual growing to about 18 inches tall with 1.5-inch-diameter flowers borne toward the top of the plant (Fig. 1). Stock is well adapted to planting in central Florida in late winter for a good flower display for about one month in late spring.

Figure 1. Stock
Figure 1.  Stock

General Information

Scientific name: Matthiola incana
Pronunciation: math-EYE-oh-luh in-KAY-nuh
Common name(s): stock, gillyflower
Family: Cruciferae
Plant type: biennial; perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 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
Uses: mass planting
Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Figure 2. 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
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
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.


1. This document is FPS402, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Teresa Howe, coordinator, Research Programs/Services, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS402

Date: 10/4/2015

      Organism ID


      • Gail Hansen de Chapman