Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

This member-only article is part of our All Access subscription.

Member only

Ironweed: The Superhero of Fall Plants

Find out why you should be growing this underused native beauty with a hardiness of steel

Fine Gardening – Issue 177

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…

This article is only available to All Access members

This article is available online for the first time ever exclusively for All Access members. Sign up for a free trial to access our entire collection of articles, videos, and plant records.

Start Free Trial

View Comments


Log in or become a member to post a comment on this article.

Related Articles

Member Exclusives

Fine Gardening All-Access

Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to our entire collection of articles, videos, and plant records.

Start Free Trial

Learn More

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."


View All