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PlantFiles: Western Wallflower, Prairie Rocket, Plains Wallflower
Erysimum asperum

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Erysimum (er-RIS-ih-mum) (Info)
Species: asperum (ASS-per-um) (Info)

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive dreamlayers On May 16, 2010, dreamlayers from Windsor, ON (Zone 6b) wrote:

I got these in a wildflower seed packet. They're one of the few species that come up again year after year. The orange colour is intense and beautiful, the flowers smell good and flowering lasts for several months.

Last year the location became very shady, but the wallflowers still kept growing and blooming. I collected some seeds and sowed them in a few other locations. This resulted in many new plants. They even grew in clay soil which is often dry.

Neutral bluespiral On Jan 31, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

from The Fragrant Path by Louise Beebe Wilder:

"Delightful plant with glowing orange-colored flowers forming a showy cluster. They are very fragrant. Hillsides and sandy wastes in California."

And from Hortus Third, revised by staff of the L. H. Bailey Hortorium, Cornell U:

The origin of the Siberian wallflower is, in fact, "from western and central North America. [It is also called 'Western Prairie Rocket' as it does shoot up to 3']."

If you are gardening in the cottage garden style, where all times of year are celebrated by some aspect of seasonal planting, there is a small grouping unique to late winter that would provide flowers and fragrance during warm spells. The woody component of this association would contribute to the garden's effect of receding into a "woods" along its outer boundaries (however miniature). In other seasons, other flowers would come into their own in the foreground.

Stephen Lacy, in his book, The Startling Jungle, suggests combining " wallflowers, plum-coloured Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea' and lime-green polyanthus. Wallflowers should be sown in May, transplanted in June and transferred to their flowering positions in September." I think these hot colors could set off the pale, waxy, fragrant flowers of Chimonanthus praecox behind them as the background woody plant (prune right after flowering to keep within boundaries).

The foregoing is fine for zone 6 (-10*F), but this Englishman's idea can be translated for harsher, colder gardens in the North American midwest, which is where this Prairie Rocket (aka Siberian Wallflower) came from. Hardy to zone 4a (-30*F), the dwarf red-leaved barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea 'Crimson Pygmy') could be substituted for the Euphorbia, which would also contribute the attractive black tones in a red-purple to the foreground of the rangier orange selection of this wallflower and be cute with the polyanthus hugging the ground in front. Hamamelis mollis (Chinese Witch Hazel), hardy to zone 5a (-20*F) could substitute for the Chimonanthus.

There are endless combinations of plants that can fill the roles of woody background, attractive leaves lower down in the foreground, something coming up between those two and something else that looks like a bunny just hopped in for shelter - like the polyanthus. But mainly, I just wanted to show how a much loved North American native wildflower that might be a little too rangy or uncouth on its own in a garden setting can bring the wilderness to more pampered buddies.

I think it might be worthwhile to try germinating seed of this plant by wintersowing. Visit the Wintersowing Forum on DG) as an alternative mode of propagation.

Neutral Baa On Feb 1, 2003, Baa wrote:

An evergreen biennial or short lived perennial from North America.

Has greyish to mid green, lance like leaves. Bears 4 petalled, dark orange to yellow flowers on long, upright stems.

Flowers March - June

Loves a well drained, neutral to alkaline soil in sun or light shade.


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

Santa Barbara, California
Boise, Idaho
Hannibal, New York
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Leesburg, Virginia
Walla Walla, Washington

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