A robust presence, unsurpassed late fall color and a compelling winter silhouette are this North American prairie dweller’s claim to fame. Painted with opulent crimson-purple hues, the flat branched heads of Aster-like flowers surmount proud stiff stems and long lance-shaped, rough-to-the touch green leaves. A finale of fluffy white seed heads matures to a rusty orange, earning its common name, while the genus pays tribute to William Vernon, a British botanist who collected the species in Maryland in 1698.

Clump-forming Ironweed is well-suited for a modern meadow-style theme, holding its own amongst bold, green bladed Miscanthus or more airy Molinia or tall perennials like Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and Aconitum. Beloved by bees and butterflies everywhere, it’s easily cultivated, appreciating a well drained moderately moist site.

Blooms August – September.

Size: 5' 0" high x 12" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Vernonia fasciculata</i> <i>Vernonia fasciculata</i>

Venerated for its iron-related traits including arrow-straight brawny stems, fluffy warm rust-tinged seed heads and a rugged constitution, this easily grown late bloomer roams the moist prairies from Ohio to North Dakota and south to Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Glabrous green linear leaves line smooth stalks, rendering a brilliant purple burst of densely clustered composite flowers that hosts the American Painted Lady butterfly. Its substantial hard-working presence can be featured in informal borders or meadow-style settings and ensconced with Sanguisorba 'Chocolate Tip', Eryngium yuccifolium and native grasses.

Blooms July–September

Size: 2' 0" – 4' 0" high x 18" – 3' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Vernonia lettermannii</i> ‘Iron Butterfly’

We owe a round of applause to Dr. Allen Armitage for his University of Georgia plant trials, which produced this highly touted tasteful selection of Arkansas resident, Vernonia lettermannii. Distinguished by delicate looking thread-like green leaves, the robust, yet compact, attractively branched mounding habit affords small tubular bright purple blooms housed in showy terminal sprays. Possessing both a herculean mettle and ultra-fine texture, ‘Iron Butterfly’ demands free draining niches and extends seasonal interest with warm rusty toned autumn flower color plus triumphs over hot dry conditions as well as sandy, infertile rock-strewn sites.

Blooms August–September

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

A flashy new 2014 Jelitto Seeds introduction, this undemanding white blooming version of the New York Ironweed propels erect upright stalks, densely cloaked in serrated lanceolate green leaves, buoying fluffy delicate plumes of narrow-petaled creamy white daisies. Followed by decorative seed heads, the long lasting late-season blooms entice many garden visitors, especially the bees and butterflies, and make bright additions to cut arrangements. ‘White Lightening’s bushy clumping habit readily adapts to variable conditions and can be massed or planted as a striking focal point for a more informal venue.

Blooms August–October

Size: 6' 0" high x 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

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Latest News

Garden Design 2019 Trends Report

Deborah's arrangement was featured in the 2019 Garden Design Trends Report! Check out the article here.



Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Asarum splendens

Fantastic Fall Foliage, Last Hurrah Sale!!

Fantastic Fall Foliage.... The arresting foliage of these easy-care, low growing perennials remains tidy well into November. Adequate water, mulch and a mid-season trim help ensure their staying power.

November's last hurrah.... The shorter days and cooler nights of November have set the garden ablaze with eye-catching foliar color. By planting an assortment of woody plants as well as herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses, which promote late season allure, a last hurrah is easily achieved. Each of the plants included in this newsletter bestow either plump berries, late blooms, compelling foliage or artful branching patterns. Happy Digging!

Digging Dog's Early November 2018 Newsletter Link
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