Plant Type
Sunlight Amount



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.

genus name
  • Sanguisorba
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 1 to 3 feet, depending on species
flower color
foliage color
season features
special features
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

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.

More Varieties of Burnet

Great burnet

A cultivar of burnet, Sanguisorba officinalis is a relatively large plant, growing 3 feet tall and wide. Like salad burnet, its young leaves are edible. Great burnet bears purplish-red flowers in late spring to early summer. Zones 4-8

Dwarf burnet

Sanguisorba minor is a dwarf form with greenish flowers above wonderfully textured foliage. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 4-8

Salad burnet

These 9-to 24-inch-tall perennial herbs form loose mounds of edible leaves. Plant Sanguisorba minor in full sun and average garden soil, and remove flowers as soon as they emerge to promote tender, young foliage. Zones 4-8

Canadian burnet

Sanguisorba canadensis bears fluffy-looking stalks of white flowers over blue-green foliage on 6-foot plants. Zones 3-8

Japanese burnet

Sanguisorba obtusa bears clusters of pink flowers from mid- to late summer on 2-foot stems. Zones 4-8

Plant Burnet With:

Grow artemisias for the magnificent silver foliage that complements nearly all other perennials and ties together diverse colors within the garden. They're nothing short of stunning next to white or blue flowers.They thrive in hot, dry, sunny conditions such as a south-facing slope. A number spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive, so consider limiting yourself to varieties listed below that are well-behaved.

Daylilies are so easy to grow you'll often find them growing in ditches and fields, escapees from gardens. And yet they look so delicate, producing glorious trumpet-shape blooms in myriad colors. In fact, there are some 50,000 named hybrid cultivars in a range of flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant.The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts but a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous.Shown above: 'Little Grapette' daylily

How can you not fall in love with a perennial that has regal blue spires? And monkshood is that plant. Relatively unknown, it deserves a lot more attention. It produces tall spikes of hooded purple, blue, white, or bicolor blooms in late summer to fall. When not in bloom, its mounds of coarsely lobed foliage look great, too.Plants grow best in partial shade, although in cool climates they will grow well in full sun. In dense shade, plants will become floppy. All parts of monkhood are poisonous.Monkshood dislikes hot weather, so it's usually not a great choice for gardeners in hot-summer climates.

Sedums are nearly the perfect plants. They look good from the moment they emerge from the soil in spring and continue to look fresh and fabulous all growing season long. Many are attractive even in winter when their foliage dies and is left standing. They're also drought-tolerant and need very little if any care. They're favorites of butterflies and useful bees. The tall types are outstanding for cutting and drying. Does it get better than that? Only in the fact that there are many different types of this wonderful plant, from tall types that will top 2 feet to low-growing groundcovers that form mats. All thrive in full sun with good drainage. Ground cover types do a good job of suppressing weeds, but seldom tolerate foot traffic. Some of the smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.

Colorful lobelias are a wonderful choice for landscaping around ponds and streams -- anywhere the soil is consistently moist. In fact, lobelia even loves downright wet conditions, making it a top choice for bog gardens.Perennial type of lobelia (not to be confused with the low-growing, often blue annual types) are magnets for hummingbirds, so they're great for wildlife gardens. The foliage is a handsome rich green to sometimes dark reddish purple. The plant produces striking spikes of flowers in all shades of red, pink, blue, and white. Lobelia needs humus-rich soil. Mulch with a biodegradable material, such as wood bark or chopped leaves, to add humus to the soil.