How to Grow Maltese Cross , Or Jerusalem Cross Flower
Maltese Cross, also called Jerusalem Cross, is a sharp looking, attractive
red flower. They are drought tolerant and easy to grow. Maltese Cross are
perfect to brighten up your flower garden. The flowers will attract butterflies
in the summer months.
Maltese Cross plants grow two to thee feet tall. It has dark green leaves,
located opposite each other on the stem. Stem and leaves are "hairy". Florets
have four petals in a cross shape. A rounded flower head has many florets.
By far the most common color, is a deep red or scarlet red. Red-Orange is
also common. White and pink varieties also exist, though they are less common.
Maltese Cross is native to Russia and Siberia. Historians believe the Maltese
Cross flower was brought to Europe during the Crusades of the Middle Ages
by the Knights of Malta. This Middle East connection also lends to it's other
name, the Jerusalem Cross flower.
Maltese Cross is also called: Burning Love Flower.
Plant Maltese Cross in the back of the flower garden. They are also used
as border edgings. Try them in naturalized landscape settings, too.
Plant Height: 36" - 48"
Maltese Cross are grown from seeds. They can be directly seeded into your
flower garden, or seeded indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost
in your area. Sow seeds early in the season, and cover lightly with 1/8"
of fine garden or potting soil.
Maltese Cross seeds germinate in two to three weeks. We recommend using a
Ideal plant spacing is 12" -15". Thin or transplant seedlings, if needed,
when they reach 2". They will tolerate a little crowding.
Established plants can also be propagated by plant division of the rootball.
Separate and replant in spring or late fall.
Days to Germination: 10 - 15
How to Grow Maltese Cross Plants:
Maltese Cross plants are very easy to grow. The like full sun. They will
tolerate partial shade. They prefer loose, rich soil that drains well. Maltese
Cross plants are drought tolerant, preferring soil on the dry side. It
is important to avoid wet soils. Plants will not do well and will likely
die in wet soils. Add a general purpose fertilizer when planting them, then
once a month after that.
Once your Maltese Cross plants are established, they should grow well with
few problems. Keep well weeded. Apply a layer of mulch to keep the
weeds down. The "hairy" leaves and stems can catch garden debris. Be careful
to keep them clean, while working with the plants.
The plants will flower in the second year. Then, watch the butterflies
flying over to the blooms.
Deadhead the spent flowers, to promote
continuous blooms all summer and into early fall. Remove the flower
and entire flower stem.
Maltese Cross plants are heat and drought tolerant. But, we do recommend
watering them during the driest periods of summer. They will do
well in mid-summer's heat.
Jerusalem Cross can be invasive. Use border edging, as needed. Edging should
be four to six inched deep in the soil.
Flowers Bloom: Summer
Insect and Disease:
Insect and disease problems are uncommon.