Blue Mistflower Plants to Beckon Butterflies!
Monarchs, Queens, Soldiers, Swallowtails, Pearly Crescents, White Peacocks, and Little Yellows are all known to frequent these fuzzy little flowers. They come into full bloom in late summer and early fall, and serve as a crucial source of nectar fuel for the fall migratory butterflies. They remain vibrant until the first frost when they die to the ground. When spring returns, the Blue Mistflower bounces right back, usually bigger and better than before.
Characteristics of Conoclinium Coelestinum
The Blue Mistflower is the polar opposite of a hothouse flower. It prefers heavy, wet soil with lots of organic matter (it thrives naturally in ditches and beside streams), but it will also grow in sand, loam, and clay soils. Medium moisture is also fine, and the plant is actually fairly drought resistant. It’s at its best in full sun, but will happily bloom in dappled shade as well. The bitter-tasting foliage means deer and rabbits prefer to snack on something else.
Hardy in zones 5-10, Blue Mistflower grows to a height of 1-3 feet with a 2-foot spread, and blooms reliably and prolifically. It’s ideal for use as a tall ground cover, and is recommended for erosion control as well. The only real effort needed on your part is to either plant it with lots of room to grow (it spreads by self-seeding and rhizomes) or nestle it into a container. Its exuberant ways will overwhelm smaller plants if they’re too close.
How to Start Blue Mistflower Seeds
For the best germination rates, sow Blue Mistflower seeds outside in late fall, or cold stratify the seeds by refrigerating them for 30-60 days in a plastic bag filled with damp sand. However, we find that spring sowing with no treatment yields satisfactory germination the vast majority of the time. Scatter seeds on soil surface and lightly press in–they need light to germinate. Keep the area moist, and in 7-14 days, you’ll be rewarded by the first sprouts! They bloom the first year in our area, but certainly the second year you can expect gorgeous drifts of vibrant blue-violet color–a refreshing accent in the usual yellow-orange autumn flower palette. You may divide a mature plant to propagate.