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Native to parts of Asia, Europe, and North America, burnet is an easy-to-grow perennial with a loose, open habit. A great plant for meadows and naturalized planting areas, burnet pairs well with grasses and other native flowering plants. It can also be used to fill in open spaces at the base of taller perennials. Salad burnet is grown for its edible foliage that tastes something like cucumbers and is popular for use in salads. Exceptionally cold-hardy salad burnet extends the garden-fresh season by several weeks in spring and fall.
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What To Plant With Burnet
Pair burnet with other meadow plants, such as purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea, black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia, and queen-of-the-prairie Filipendula rubra. These perennials display bold, pronounced flowers that complement burnet's spiky blossoms that are reminiscent of bottlebrushes. (Scroll down for more ideas.)
Caring for Burnet Plants
For best results, plant this spreading perennial in full sun and average, well-drained soil. Burnet will grow in loose clay and sandy soil, as well as in fertile loam.
Start burnet from transplants purchased at a local nursery, grown from seed, or acquired via division that takes place in early spring as soon as the foliage emerges. For the latter, use a sharp spade to divide the plants, and quickly replant the divisions to reduce transplant shock. If starting from seeds, sow them directly in the garden in early spring. Lightly cover the seeds with fine soil, then water the seed bed gently. They should germinate in one to three weeks.
Burnet freely self-seeds. If you don't want the plant to spread, remove spent flowers as soon as they emerge. Using pruners, cut flower stalks back to the foliage. If harvesting burnet for culinary use, snip the tender, young foliage in early spring when it has the best flavor. Older leaves are tough and bitter.