Hesperis matronalis

Family: Brassicaceae


Native to: Southern Europe To Siberia


Types: biennial, perennial

Form: erect

Max height: 3.3 feet

Max width: 3.3 feet


pink, violet, white/off white




Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, specific butterfly species

Plant features: self-sows

Exposure: light shade, part shade, sun

Landscape uses: container, flower fragrant

Propagates by: seed

flowers in spring

flowers in summer

Soil type: well drained

USDA Zones: zone 3 -40 f, zone 4 -30 f, zone 5 to -20 f, zone 6 to -10 f, zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f

Temp. range: -40 to +30 °F

Water: drought tolerant

  • Hesperis matronalis 2
  • Hesperis matronalis 3
  • Hesperis matronalis 4
  • Hesperis matronalis

Hesperis matronalis, a member of the Brassicaceae family is also called DAMASK VIOLET, DAME'S VIOLET, or SWEET ROCKET. It produces violet, pink, or off-white blooms in spring and summer, grows in Zones 3-9, and generally grows to just over 3' tall by 3' wide. Drought tolerant, it favors full sun or part shade, well-drained soil, and can be grown from seed. It can also be grown in a container. Biologically, this wildflower is a biennial, but because it self-sows so readily, it is also treated as a short-lived perennial.

Of the long list of butterflies that are attracted to Brassicaceae, Hesperis species in particular attract two butterflies - Anthocharis stella, Stella Orangetip, and Anthocharis thoosa, Southwestern Orangetip. Hesperis matronalis in particular attracts two additional butterflies as well: Battus philenor, Pipevine swallowtail, and Papilio cresphontes, Giant swallowtail.

Battus philenor 3
Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant is one of 186 perennials suitable to grow in a container that will attract adult butterflies. 38 of these plants attract birds and 67 attract specific butterfly species. They can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall. 19 of these plants are drought tolerant, more than 80 are available for dry or moderate watering conditions. 29 are deciduous, while 71 are evergreen. Some can grow in Zone 2, while the others grow in Zones 3-11. 178 perennial plants that attract butterflies and can be grown in containers in Zone 9. 77 can be used as cut flowers. They come in any one of the available flower colors.

We have found that, when given a choice, butterflies and bees frequent named species more often than cultivars. You may want to keep this in mind when you select plants for your garden if your goal is to attract and support these insects.

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