(Dictamnus albus 'Gas plant')
Gas plant is an introduced perennial flower native to Europe but grows in gardens throughout the northeastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches a height of 2-3' and features woody stems at the base, fragrant, compound, oval-shaped, glossy, green leaves, and aromatic 1-3”, 4-5 petaled, star-shaped white flowers that have violet/purple veining and long projecting stamens. This plant attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, is resistant to deer, is drought tolerant, is both edible and medicinal, makes essential oils and cosmetics, and is used as a cut flower!
Culinary & Medicinal
Variety: Gas Plant
Also Known As: Dittany, Burning Bush, and Fraxinella.
Awards: Dictamnus albus received the Royal Horticulture Society Award of Garden Merit.
Native to: Albania, Altay, Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East European Russia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, North Caucasus, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Romania, Sinai, South European Russi, Spain, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, Yugoslavia
Introduced into: Michigan, New York, Vermont.
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): Late spring to early summer
Hardiness: Semi Hardy. Gas plant can tolerate low temperatures up to 40°F.
Light: Full sun. 6 hours of sun daily.
Water: Medium. Gas plant is no stranger to water and thrives best in moist soil.
Soil Moisture: Medium moisture. Gas plant will not tolerate droughts until it’s fully established.
Suitability: Gas plant is normally found in warm, open woodlands in Southern Europe that have light sandy and medium loamy well-drained soils.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, and is resistant to deer.
Containers?: No. This plant develops a deep taproot.
Sow Depth: 1/4"
USDA Zone: 3-9
Produces: Woody stems at the base, fragrant, compound, oval-shaped, glossy, green leaves, and aromatic 1-3”, 4-5 petaled, star-shaped white flowers that have violet/purple veining and long projecting stamens.
Garden Uses: Cottage Gardens, Borders, Small Groups
Poisonous to Humans:
Poison Severity: Low
Poison Symptoms: Can produce a rash in some people. Leaves can be poisonous if ingested in large dosage.
Poison Toxic Principle: an oil in the leaves.
Causes Contact Dermatitis: Yes
Poison Part: Flowers and Leaves.
To plant Gas plant in the spring time, the seeds will need to be stratified first which can take from 1-6 months and may require several rounds of refrigeration. There are three different mediums you could use to stratify your seeds in a refrigerator which is normally determined by the size of the seeds you are stratifying: a potting mix, sand, or a napkin. Choosing the right medium is important because it is impossible to separate super tiny seeds from a potting mix or sand later on.
Stratification by Potting Soil or Sand:
1) Fill a container with moist potting mix or sand.
2) Sprinkle your seeds on top of the potting mix, or sand.
3) Sprinkle an additional 1/8" soil mix or sand over your seeds and mist with a water bottle.
4) Add a label with the plant name and date and cover your container with plastic.
4) Refrigerate your seeds and do not let the potting mix dry out.
5) Remove from refrigerator after 4-6 weeds.
Stratification by Napkin:
1) Moisten a napkin using a water bottle.
2) Sprinkle your seeds on only half of the napkin
3) Fold the side of the napkin with no seeds on it over the half of napkin with the seeds on it.
4) Insect the napkin into a zip lock bag and seal it.
5) Refrigerate your seeds and do not let the napkin dry out.
6) Remove from the refrigerator after 4-6 weeks.
Germinating Gas Plant Flower Seeds:
1) Fill seed starting trays to within 1/2 inch of the rim with moist soil mix.
2) Firm the surface with the back of your fingers, then scatter stratified seeds evenly over the medium.
3) Sprinkle a little additional 1/8" soil mix over seeds but do not cover fully add a label with the plant name and date.
4) Cover the finished pots with plastic and set them in a warm bright place or under lights at a room temperature of 65 to 72°F.
5) Keep the soil moist as the seedlings sprout and develop. Seedlings should emerge within two months.
6) If no seedlings sprout, cover your tray with plastic and put it back into the refrigerator for another 5-6 weeks and repeat process. If seedlings begin to sprout during the 2nd round of refrigeration, then remove your tray and set it in a warm bright place or under lights at a room temperature of 65 to 72°F.
Temperature: 65-72F. Ideal 70F.
Average Germ Time: 100-140 days
Light Required: Yes
Moisture: Keep seed moist until germination
In late fall, direct sow 2-3 of your Gas plant seeds in a deep hole full of compost 32" apart in fertile and well-drained soils that has a pH between 5.5 and 7.0.
Transplant your seedlings into the garden once the soil has warmed after all dangers of frost. Gas plant prefers full sun and a moist fertile, well drained soil that has a pH between 5.5 and 7.0 but prefers it on the slightly acidic to neutral side.
Gas plant appreciate full sunshine and only will tolerate partial shade during the hottest summer months. It thrives best in the north where the summer nights are cooler. Dig your hole as deep as the pot you are transplanting from and fill the holes with compost and keep a spacing of 32" between seedlings. Your soil will need to maintain a medium moisture until your plants establish.
When outdoor temp: 60˚F to 85˚F.
Temperature and Light: Gas plant prefers colder temperatures and grows strong in USDA zones 3 to 9. They do the best in northern climates where the nights are significantly cooler. In very hot temperatures, there is a risk of the volatile oils becoming active and igniting. As for light, Gas plant doesn't like even partial shade. It needs full sun to grow well. When planting in your garden, choose a sunny location where the sun shines for at least 6 hours every day.
Fertilizer: The nutrient requirement of gas plant is relatively low. An organic starting fertilization in the spring, for example in the form of compost is generally sufficient.
Pruning: Dead and diseased shoots are completely removed or regularly cut out. No further cutting is necessary. Due to the toxicity of this plant, it is useful to wear gloves as well as clothes with long sleeves.