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.

  • Catalog Navigation Menu Top
  • Perennials at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Perennials: Acaena to Anthemis
    • Perennials: Anthriscus to Astrantia
    • Perennials: Baptisia to Cynoglossum
    • Perennials
    • Perennials: Fallopia to Gunnera
    • Perennials: Haloragis to Inula
    • Perennials: Kirengeshoma to Morina
    • Perennials: Nepeta to Pulmonaria
    • Perennials: Rheum to Succisella
    • Perennials: Teucrium to Yucca
  • Ornamental Grasses at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Grasses: Acorus to Deschampsia
    • Grasses: Elymus to Uncinia
  • Shrubs at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Shrubs: Arctostaphylos to Halimiocistus
    • Shrubs: Hebe to Weigela
  • Trees & Vines
  • List by Genus
  • Gift Certificates
  • T-Shirts
  • Gift Cards & Etchings
  • Slideshow
  • Gallery
  • Catalog Navigation Menu Bottom

Latest News

September Splendor 2018!

Digging Dog Nursery's September Splendor sale is here!

Purchase a minimum of $100…MORE

Saturday Strolls & Plant Chats 2018!

Saturdays at 2 p…MORE

"Dig" Digging Dog Nursery's Super Autumn Plant Sale!

Reap the benefit of fall planting!

October 5, 6, & 7 - 10am to 5pm

Browse an abundance of easy-to-grow plants, including many rare beauties, water-wise toughies, and pollinator-friendly selections, at a savings!

Enjoy our colorful display borders…MORE



Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Helianthus 'Sheila's Sunshine', Persicaria 'Summer Dance', and Selinum wallichianum

Helianthus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine - P-0461

The sunflower was once an emblem of the Sun God of the Incas. Our sunflowers tolerate a wide range of garden soils, attract bees, and make great cut flowers. Blooms early August – October.

Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ - P-1312

With foliage that’s close to lime-green, and spiky floral tails that approach the scarlet spectrum of rosy pink, this slow spreading perennial is sure to please. Happiest in semishade with ample moisture. Blooms August–November.

Selinum wallichianum - P-1406

This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels.

Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, and appreciates a well draining moist niche. Blooms June–August.

Digging Dog Nursery Right Border