Vernonia spp. and cvs.
USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil but adaptable to drier and/or gravelly soil
Bloom Time: Mid- to late summer through mid- to late fall
Troubles: Powdery mildew and rust
Someone recently said to me that ironweeds are ecological plants, not garden plants. This proclamation got me thinking differently about these imposing natives. Is this a common perception among gardeners? Does my affinity for ironweeds blind me to their shortcomings (no pun intended)? I remember the first time I saw an ironweed in a garden: It seemed impossibly tall, but the high crown of purple flowers aflutter with butterflies and bees mesmerized me, and it was love at first sight. But since that first glimpse, I’ve rarely encountered ironweeds in cultivated landscapes. At 7 to 12 feet tall, their daunting size likely unnerves some gardeners and certainly excludes…
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