How to Plant Dame's Rocket


The dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis) was introduced into the United States in the 1600s from Eurasia, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The plant grows as either a biennial or perennial in most of the country. It grows 3 feet in height and produces abundant fragrant lavender, white or pink blossoms that grow in large clusters. Dame's rocket is considered invasive in many states because it can easily escape cultivation and spread to native areas where it crowds out the native plant life with its prolific seed production and high germination rate, the Forest Service warns.

Step 1

Plant dame's rocket plants or seeds in full sunlight to partial shade. In areas with intensely hot summers, plant dame's rocket in partial shade.

Step 2

Choose a location that offers well-draining soil conditions. Dame's rocket will grow in a wide range of soils and can thrive in loam, sandy conditions or clay with ease, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The plant does not tolerate standing water.

Step 3

Mix organic matter such as aged manure or peat moss into the soil at the planting site. Space plants 6 to 8 inches apart. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep. Thin seeds once germination occurs so overcrowding does not become an issue.

Step 4

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the plants to control weed growth. Mulch also helps shade the root system during the hot summer months, while helping the soil retain moisture.

Step 5

Remove spent flower heads before seeds appear to control the plants invasive habits. A few flower heads can remain if harvest of seeds for future planting are desired.

Tips and Warnings

  • The Midwest Invasive Plant Network has named this plant to its list of exotic, invasive species. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, it should not be planted in the Midwest.

Things You'll Need

  • Aged manure
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch such as peat moss or bark chips.


  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Hesperis Matronalis
  • U.S. National Forest Service: Dame's Rocket
  • Missouri Plants: Hesperis Matronalis
  • Connecticut Botanical Society: Dame's Rocket

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Hesperis Matronalis
Keywords: dame's rocket growth, dame's rocket care, dame's rocket planting

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.