Growing Cat’s Ear (Hypochaeris radicata): How and Where

cat's ear

Cat's ear are pretty perennial flowers which are similar to dandelions. If they are allowed to spread in the summer in your meadow, they will form a sheet of attractive yellow flowers. They have short wiry stems and hairy leaves that can be eaten in salads. The flowers which bloom over a long period in summer and early autumn are attractive and beneficial to bees and other insects. 

Cat’s ear are perennials, so once established they will come back year after year They do well if sown as part of a seed mixture or can be introduced as an individual species. Cat's ear seeds are expensive and in short supply so planting plug plants can be a more cost effective way to introduce them to an existing meadow. They are best grown where there is grass. You can plant in the spring or the autumn. 

Growing Cat's Ear

Site: They prefer sun
Soil type: They benefit from a well-drained soil
Flowering season: May to September
Height: 20 to 60 centimetres

Planting cat's ear plug plants

Wildflower plugs are best planted between September and May.

  • Delay planting if the soil is dry, hard or frozen.
  • Water the plugs before planting.
  • To remove the individual plug plants push, them up and out using the hole in the bottom of each cell.
  • Cut any grass very short and rake out any thatch.
  • Plant around 5 plugs per square metre.
  • Plant at least 3 of any one species near each other.
  • Once planted keep the plants watered during their first 6 weeks. The most common losses are caused by the plugs drying out just after planting.
After planting, when necessary, mow the area of grass containing the plug plants with your mower blades set at a high setting. Ideally about 4 inches (10 cm). This prevents the grass from growing too tall and covering the young wildflower plants and will allow them enough light and warmth to build up a good leaf and root system. When they are established stop mowing and let them grow on.