Wild petunia occurs in dryish soils in open woods, glades, prairies and fields throughout the State except for the far southeastern lowlands. Typically grows to 2′ tall. Features tubular, bell-shaped, petunia-like flowers (to 3″ long), each with five shallow rounded lobes. May to October bloom period. Lavender to lilac flowers appear singly or in clusters in the upper leaf axils. Oblong to lanceolate, olive green leaves to 4″ long. Leaves and stems are hairy. This plant in on threatened list in the state of Michigan.
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils, but prefers moist, fertile ones and generally performs better in moist soils than most other species of Liatris. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. May be grown from seed, but is slow to establish.
Blazing star (also commonly called dense blazing star or marsh blazing star) is a tall, upright, clump-forming perennial which is native to moist low grounds, meadows and marsh margins. In Missouri, it has only been found in Oregon County on the Arkansas border (Steyermark). It typically grows 2-4′ tall in cultivation, but can reach a height of 6′ in some parts of its native habitat. Features terminal spikes (6-12″ long) of sessile, rounded, fluffy, deep purple flower heads (each to 3/4″ across) appearing atop rigid, erect, leafy flower stalks. One or more stalks arise from a basal tuft of narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves (to 12″ long). Stem leaves gradually decrease in size toward the top. Blooms in summer. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no ray flowers. The feathery flower heads of liatris give rise to another common name of gayfeather. See also L. spicata‘Kobold’ which is a popular compact cultivar that is less likely to need staking than the species.
Growing in moist conditions, Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset) produces flat to roundish heads of white flowers. The stem is covered with long spreading hairs with leaves that are often joined at the base, appearing to surround the stem. Many different insect species are attracted to the flowers as the nectar is relatively easy to access.
Hybrid Mesa delivers a more uniform habit with more flowers than typical open pollinated varieties, a trait that has been consistently demonstrated in our trials. Growers appreciate these two qualities in both crop scheduling and sales. Gardeners enjoy continuous blooms all season long and the inherent drought tolerance. Because Mesas are first year flowering perennials, they are an excellent choice for mixed containers, gardens and landscapes.
Tropical Milkweed, also known as Blood flower, is a tender evergreen perennial in the dogbane and milkweed family. It is native to South America, but has naturalized worldwide in many tropical and subtropical areas. It has a much longer flowering period than the perennial milkweeds that are winter hardy in Michigan. Showy red-orange flowers bloom late spring through late autumn except in USDA Zones 9-11 where it is winter hardy. Grows best in light, rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Will tolerate light shade and some soil dryness. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are attracted to the flowers. Monarch butterflies lay eggs on this plant and the resulting larvae (caterpillars) use the plant leaves as a food source. Flowers are followed by long, narrow seed pods (3-4” long) which split open when ripe releasing silky tailed seeds for dispersal by wind. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Plants can be poisonous to livestock. Consider wearing gloves when working with these plants because the milky sap is poisonous if ingested and can be toxic to human skin.
Asclepias hirtella Tall Green Milkweed is a Michigan native although it is considered threatened in the state. Tall Green Milkweed is found throughout the Tallgrass Prairie region in open areas, usually in prairies or remnants of prairies and throughout the midwest. Though not as well known as other varieties of milkweed, Tall Green Milkweed distinguishes itself with abundant clusters of green-white flowers that attract many butterflies and bees.