Tall Ironweed Wildflower Garden Plugs
Hardiness zones 4-8
Tall or Giant Ironweed is an all-around favorite native perennial flowering herbaceous plant in the aster family that occurs in a huge area east of the Mississippi. It “stands tall,” and the stem is “strong as iron” as the name suggests of its narrow and upright habit. It’s often found in flat areas that tend to hold some moisture, but will grow in just about any soil type if it’s provided with partial to full sun. In the late summer and early fall, the one foot wide purple to magenta cluster of blooms (called corymbose cymes) on top can be seen from a distance, because they seem to be glowing. The blooms are prime real estate for a huge list of pollinating insects. As you approach the 5’-8’ tall plants, its not uncommon to see several different species of wasps, bees, and butterflies competing for the nectar it provides.
Some of the pollinators and insects that visit ironweeds include: bee flies, skippers, bumblebees, painted ladies, monarchs, eastern tiger swallowtails, gall producing midges, borer moths, tiger moths, red groundlings, and katydids. Natural landscapers are beginning to recognize the value of this plant, and it mixes well with some of the later blooming native plants with differing flower colors. It’s also resistant to deer, cattle, and rabbits, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of protecting it. You can prune it back earlier in the summer to control its height to match the surrounding plants, and it will still bloom. Ironweed reproduces from seed and rhizomes, and is equally welcome in the pasture as it is in a pollinator garden in your yard.
Got my 3 Ironweeds I ordered along with my other wildflowers shortly after I placed my order. The root system looks incredible, very fine and healthy ready to take off. Got em planted and I can’t wait to see what they look like this spring, I’m sure my insect friends will love them!