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Regional Picks: Grass Companions – Southern Plains

Fine Gardening – Issue 177

1. Red Midget’ Mexican Hat


Name: Ratibida columnifera ‘Red Midget’

Usda Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Size: 18 to 36 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; dry to medium, well-drained soil

This compact selection of the prairie native is a playful, sun-loving showstopper for even the toughest conditions. Deep-red petals edged in gold surround a central cone that protrudes 1 to 2 inches above the petals, giving the plant its common name. Flowers appear in early summer through frost and seed readily. Many of the seeds will become feasts for songbirds, while others sow themselves into the soil for emergence the following spring. The showy flowers host an abundance of pollinators. Plants have an open, airy habit and finely cut foliage that is perfect for mixed borders.


2. ‘Iron Butterfly’ Ironweed


Name: Vernonia lettermannii Iron Butterfly’

Zones: 4 to 9

Size: 3 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; average to dry soil


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