Whether you garden in the mountains or on the prairie, in sand or in clay, there is probably an ironweed (Vernonia species) that belongs in your garden.
Blooming from mid-summer to fall, depending on species, these easy-care natives are beloved of pollinators and their clouds of vivid purple flowers bring a fresh touch to the garden at a time when it can start to look tired. Many of them soar to great heights (8 feet or so), so they make great back-of-the-border plants, but this can be kept in check with a couple of early season prunings. Some tend to self-sow a good amount, so if you’re concerned about that it may be advisable to deadhead them before they set seed.
Seventeen species of ironweed are native to the U.S. I grow two in my Florida garden, Vernonia gigantea, which has a huge range that covers much of the eastern half of the country (and into Ontario, Canada) and Vernonia angustifolia, which has narrower leaves and is native to the southeast. For those of you in more northern climes, New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) would be a good option, and prairie ironweed, Vernonia fasciculata, is found as far west as Montana.
If ironweed isn’t a part of your garden, it should be.
Plant this: ironweed
Vernonia gigantea, giant ironweed (zones 5 to 9), started blooming about a week ago in my Florida garden.
Vernonia fasciculata, prairie ironweed (zones 4 to 8). (Photo by Sally and Andy Wasowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)
Vernonia angustifolia, tall ironweed (zones 5 to 9), just coming into bloom in my front garden.
Vernonia noveboracensis, New York ironweed (zones 5 to 9). (Photo by Alfred F.W. Vick, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)
Published July 22nd, 2014 1:21 PM
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