Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dame's Rocket, Sweet Rocket
Hesperis matronalis 'Alba'

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hesperis (HES-per-iss) (Info)
Species: matronalis (mah-tro-NAH-lis) (Info)
Cultivar: Alba

One vendor has this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
No neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Mar 17, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This pretty perennial self-sows aggressively and persistently in the garden, and can crowd out other more desirable garden plants if not regularly thinned. It can spread rapidly. The seeds can lie dormant in the soil for many years, only to sprout when conditions are right. Once you've let it go to seed, removing it requires a great deal of work over many years, even if you catch it before it's spread to neighboring properties. It's been five years, and I'm still trying, but it's wearing me down.

Though it isn't a North American wildflower, it is often included in cheap "wildflower" seed mixes here. It's a threat to wild habitat over most of the continent except the deep south.

Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) and meadow phlox (P. maculata) have similar garden qualities (including fragrance) but are harmless. Money plant/honesty (Lunaria) is also similar and seems not to be invasive.

Driving across New York State on I90, I observed with mixed feelings how many shady moist wild areas had been taken over by this plant. The color was pretty, but it reminded me of purple loosestrife and the similar widespread destruction of habitat wrought by that seductively colorful intruder...

This species is prohibited or declared a noxious weed in three states, and both the US Forest Service and the National Park Service are asking people not to plant it:

Positive jamieos On May 23, 2009, jamieos from Ridgefield, CT wrote:

This plant was given to me years ago by a friend who had it on his property. It has been banned(!) in CT and Mass. by the plant nativists because if is not a "Native". It came to this country centuries ago from Europe, brought by our ancestors. It is a lovely thing coming in all colors of white, pinks, fuchsia/rose and lavender. It blooms when most other plants have not begun to to flower - bridging the late bulbs, peonies and irises in my garden. Yes it does self-sow, just as do other plants that we cherish, but it certainly is NOT invasive, and if there are too many in your borders, simply pull them out! It does not propagate by underground roots, and does not seed itself far from the original location. If you do not want it to spread, simply cut it back after blooming and before it goes to seed. In short, it is a delight and an ornament to the world. If one wishes to discuss horrid invasive plants, then Garlic Mustard is THE real pest, and this biennial is the scourge of my part of CT.

Negative maccionoadha On Apr 13, 2008, maccionoadha from Halifax, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is Prohibited in Massachusetts and Banned in Connecticut.

Positive prairiemom On Jun 4, 2007, prairiemom from Huron, SD wrote:

This plant grows wild in roadside ditches and is spectacular when blooming.. In my gardens I allow a few to remain to self-seed wherever it wants, but pull most of the plants out after the first flush of bloom. This way I always have young vigorous plants which do not take up too much space and space where I pull them out to plant other new late arriving perennials. Plants if left from year to year get very large and take up a lot of space with unattractive leaf growth. It survives extreme cold and/or dryness.

Positive Anitabryk2 On Jul 19, 2006, Anitabryk2 from Long Island, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This wintersowed very nicely.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Richmond, California
Oskaloosa, Kansas
Halifax, Massachusetts
Ronkonkoma, New York
Huron, South Dakota
Germantown, Tennessee
Fairview, Utah
Delavan, Wisconsin

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