Giant Ironweed Plant (Vernonia gigantea) Quick Facts!
Host to American Lady caterpillars
Nectar plant for Monarchs, Swallowtails and many other butterflies.
Native to much of the eastern and southern US
Hardy in USDA zones 4-9
Full to partial sun
Prefers moist soil, but can tolerate most levels
Purple flowers blooms from July-Oct.
Grows about 5-8 feet tall
Space 1-2 feet apart
Giant Ironweed Plants Stand Out
The Vernonia gigantea plants are hardy native perennials and have been known to attain heights of over ten feet. They can be counted on to reach five to seven feet without early spring pruning. Much like the tallest kid in the class photo, it’s usually placed at the back of the group!
The resilient stem, which attains a rich, reddish hue as it matures, never droops. Masses of small magenta blossoms that crown the erect stems can attain widths of 12 inches across. Narrow dark green leaves will grow to about ten inches long and two inches across, and the leaves’ bitter taste will discourage deer and rabbit snacking.
The gorgeous deep purplish color is unusual for the late summer bloom, and Ironweed provides a greatly appreciated (and greatly attractive!) end-of-summer nectar source for pollinators. Look for American and Painted Ladies, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Crossline and Fiery Skippers, and Sulfurs to visit when the flowers make their appearance for about four to six weeks in late July through October.
As the flowers turn to seed, they take on a lovely rust color. Goldfinches enjoy a meal of Ironweed seeds.
Giant Ironweed Plants Stand Up
Giant Ironweed plants stand up to all conditions! While it prefers plenty of moisture, to the point of tolerating occasional flooding, it can survive drought conditions as well. Rich soil allows it to flower best, but it will thrive in sand, loam, and clay also. It will spread most often by rhizomes and will form clumps, but it can grow from seed, too. Look for it thriving in the wild along roadsides and streams, in pastures and in open woodlands.
It preferers full sun to partial shade, and its tall, sturdy stems make it easy for the Ironweed to seek the sun.
Space plants about eighteen inches apart or grow in containers for a tall, unusual accent–this is a plant that truly blooms where it’s planted!
Your Butterfly Garden Stands to Benefit from Giant Ironweed!
Order today to enjoy these tall beauties for a lifetime!