Liatris spicata – Dense Blazingstar
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.
Available May – Mid May 2017
Mimulus ringens – Monkeyflower
This perennial plant is 1-3′ tall, branching occasionally to frequently. The light green stems are glabrous and bluntly 4-angled, but they are not conspicuously winged. The opposite leaves are up to 4″ long and 1″ across; they are light to medium green, lanceolate or elliptic-oblanceolate in shape, glabrous, and serrated to sparingly serrated along their margins. The leaves are sessile or they clasp the stems; petioles are absent. Leaf bases are round to slightly cordate, while their tips are slender and pointed. Individual flowers develop from the leaf axils of the middle to upper stems. These flowers are about 1″ long, and they have two-lipped corollas that are usually pale blue-violet (less often pink or white).
Available May – Mid May 2015
Ruellia humilis – Wild Petunia
Host plant – Common Buckeye Butterfly
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.
Available for shipping mid May
Senna hebecarpa – Wild Senna
Host Plant – Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur
Wild Senna is a versatile plant that we think deserves more recognition as a great choice for garden or restoration projects. Its lovely, bright yellow flowers bloom July-August, attracting many bees and butterflies. Autumn brings beautiful leaf colors and the formation of long black pods with seeds favored by larger birds like wild turkeys. A horizontal root system provides strength against winds, allowing the plant’s stately (4-6′) beauty to be appreciated even after the storm. Some gardeners use this sun-loving plant to form a hedge.
It is virtually indistinguishable from its relative, Maryland Senna (Senna marilandica) until the two species have ripe seeds. The Wild Senna will readily open its pod and the seeds will fall out, whereas the Maryland Senna seed pods will stay tightly closed. Other than this, it is very hard to tell the two species apart.
Solidago sphacelata – ‘Golden Fleece’ Dwarf Goldenrod
Another fantastic Mt. Cuba introduction. A stunning show of sprays of golden yellow flowers from mid-August through September. Semievergreen heart-shaped leaves. Truly an excellent groundcover and bee and butterfly charmer! Hairstreaks, sulphurs and skippers are particularly attracted to goldenrod. Monarchs visit it during their autumn migration.
Goldenrod Interesting Notes
Golden Fleece autumn goldenrod was discovered in 1985 as a spontaneous garden seedling in Eden, North Carolina. It was evaluated under diverse conditions at Mt. Cuba Center and determined to be a low-growing, compact form of the species suitable for use as an herbaceous perennial groundcover only reaching 18” tall. Multi-branched stems arise from basal rosettes of broadly rounded foliage and are covered with a profusion of golden-yellow floral spires from mid-September to October. It performs best in full sun with average moisture but is tolerant of a range of conditions from sunny and dry to partial shade. 'Golden Fleece' is hardy in zones 3-8. It won the Internationale Stauden-Union’s Award for an outstanding new plant in Switzerland in 1994. – Mt. Cuba Center
In many of the gardens I design, I use goldenrod to give late summer and fall gardens just the right autumnal color. Luckily for urban dwellers with limited gardening space, goldenrod also can be grown quite successfully in a container. Beautiful in the garden, goldenrod does double-duty as a long-lived cut flower. In Europe, where goldenrod has long been shown the appreciation it deserves, it is sold by the bunch, and gardening catalogs offer more cultivars than are available in the States.
Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece' Growing and Maintenance Tips
Native to calcarous woodlands and rocky pastures from Virginia to Illinois south to Kentucky and Georgia. Prefers somewhat fertile, sandy, well-drained soils in full sun. Propagate by seed or division every 3-4 years. Cut back to encourage rebloom. Used in butterfly and wild gardens or as a groundcover or border perennial.
Spigelia marilandica – Indian Pink
Indian pink or woodland pinkroot
One of the most striking and beautiful of our native perennials, Indian pink’s summer flowers are brilliant red and tubular with canary yellow throats. A very hardy plant, though it is best planted by the end of July for reliable success in gardens and containers. A favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds, it is at home in the bright woodland or shaded border.
Indian pink Interesting Notes
Indian pink is a long-lived perennial that brings stunning color to the summer garden. Vivid red tubular flowers borne in terminal clusters open to expose a chartreuse yellow interior, reminiscent of a firecracker exploding. This perennial produces its primary display in early summer and flowers sporadically through the remainder of the growing season. It can grow to nearly 2’ tall and wide. Indian pink is an adaptable species, but does prefer neutral, well-drained soils to develop its best displays. The bright flowers attract hummingbirds and brighten the woodland edge or perennial border. Spigelia marilandica combines well with Dryopteris intermedia, Chrysogonum virginianum, Lilium superbum, and Aquilegia canadensis. – Mt. Cuba Center
If this isn’t the region’s most beautiful native, then I don’t know who is…any votes for Elvis or Dolly? This exquisite woodland perennial makes a dainty-looking 12″ wide clump of 2′ tall stalks clothed with nondescript green foliage. In late spring, Spigelia marilandica clumps are topped with dozens of stalks of spectacular up-facing, bright red, tubular flowers with a dramatically contrasting, yellow center…a hummingbird favorite. Spigelia marilandica, which improves with age, is a true garden show-stopper! We have found that it grows equally well in full sun or light shade, as well as in very moist or bone-dry soils. – Plant Delights Nursery
Although called Indian Pink, this plant, Spigelia marilandica, actually has tubular flowers that are bright crimson with a bright yellow lining. It is under-used by hummingbird gardeners but is an excellent plant for a yard with tall established trees that cast light shade beneath them. Indian Pink comes up quite late in the spring, so mark the planting spot to avoid accidentally over-planting it. It is a low-growing plant the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds find easily as they scout the landscape for food sources. – Operation RubyThroat
Folklore: Used by the Cherokee and other Native American tribes as a ritual and ceremonial herb to induce visions and foretell the future.
Spigelia marilandica Growing and Maintenance Tips
Grow in partial to full shade in rich soil with high organic content. A very hardy plant, though it is best planted by the end of July for reliable success in gardens and containers. Prefers not to be transplanted once established.
Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Zizia aurea is one of those natives that every garden should have. It is fairly easy to grow and, although short-lived, will self-seed and persist in many sun/soil situations. Zizia is an important plant to a number of short-tongued insects that are able to easily reach the nectar in the small yellow flowers. Black Swallowtail caterpillars will feed on its leaves.
Golden Alexanders have a long bloom time, giving the garden/prairie some well-deserved early color for several weeks in late spring to early summer when many other plants have not yet flowered. Also called Golden Zizia, Golden Alexanders will tolerate a lot of shade but prefer full sun or light shade.