Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The "Iron Butterfly"
My previous experience with ironweed was with common ironweed, which sports this comment from Wildflower.org: "Too aggressive for small areas. Needs competition." (!!!)
The first year this perennial is in the ground it may not excel, but hang on for year two. The tightly-wound form is almost shrub-like and about as carefree as you can imagine. Not only will it tolerate and thrive in a variety of moisture levels, it is perfectly happy in full sun or part sun locations. And while the form makes it easy to integrate into smaller landscapes, the massive quantities of delicate red-violet blooms make it a true standout. Pair this with some "Fireworks" goldenrod behind and things could really get explosive!
Ironweed is a fabulous plant for butterflies, no matter which species in the genus you select. Some other varieties are also deer resistant (Woolly Ironweed, for example--another well-behaved species), making them even better selections for some gardens.
Resources: USDA Plants Database, American Beauties Native Plants