New York Ironweed
New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is a native wildflower that is blooming now, and is sometimes available in garden centers. It is tall – some stems of mine are 6 feet. Although the technical literature says it is a columnar plant only getting to be 2 feet across, I had one that got much larger than that.
New York ironweed is a tall and vigorous plant
New York Ironweed likes full sun and prefers moist soil. I gave mine those conditions and it got too big for the space I had allocated. So I moved it to a part shade location with ordinary soil that is not moist. It has been less vigorous, but still blooms nicely at a time when I don’t have a lot of purple blossoms.
This plant resembles New England asters, to which it is related. Each blossom is purple and about an inch wide, but there are many of them clustered together in clusters called cymes.
These blossoms don't last more than a few days in a vase.
Although New York Ironweed is listed as a Zone 5 plant, I
live in a cold Zone 4 location, and it has survived for more than 10 years.
The only flaw of this plant is that it tends to flop. While researching this post I learned that its flaw can be remedied by cutting it back to the ground when it is two feet tall – probably in June. I will try this next spring. That may encourage the plant to send more stalks, too.
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