Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Photo/Illustration: 
Jennifer Benner
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Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
LITH-rum sal-ih-KARE-ee-ah
Genus:  Lythrum
The showy purple spikes of purple loosestrife are attractive in the garden and along roadsides, but the plant's rampant spread has greatly reduced the ecological value of marshes by displacing native wetland vegetation such as cattails ( Typha spp.) that wildlife uses as food or shelter. One mature plant can produce over 2 million seeds a year that are easily transported by the wind or water into wetlands. The seeds easily germinate, and no natural predator holds this plant in check. Even cultivars reported to be sterile can produce highly fertile seed if grown with other cultivars or wild loosestrife.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Showy purple flower spikes. Highly invasive in all regions.
Care:  Grows in any moist soil in full sun.
Propagation:  Self-sows with abandon.
Problems:  Slugs, snails, Japanese beetles.

Overview

Height
3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Growth Pace
Invasive/Aggressive Grower
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Medium to Wet
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Fall,
Summer
Flower Color
Pink Yarrow,
Niagara
Uses
Beds and Borders
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Type
Perennials

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