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Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed)

Missouri Ironweed, Vernonia aborigina

Vernonia missurica, Missouri Ironweed, Vernonia aborigina, Purple Flowers, Purple Perennials

Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed) is a tall perennial boasting branched clusters of tiny, fluffy, vivid purple to magenta disks in mid-summer to early fall. Each glorious flower head may consist of up to 30-60 disk florets. Attractive to bees, butterflies, and skippers, the blossoms are borne atop stout, upright, hairy stems clad with narrow, lance-shaped, deep green leaves, 7 in. long (17 cm), slightly serrated along the margins. The lower sides of the leaves are covered in dense white hairs. The blossoms give way to fluffy, rusty seed clusters that are dispersed by the wind. Native to the prairies of the midwest south to Texas and Georgia, Missouri Ironweed is typically found in damp areas such as river bottom woods, fens, sedge meadows, and wet prairies. As a tall, narrow plant, Missouri Ironweed is suited for the back of the border or tight spaces and grows well in the native meadow garden. Attractive when in bloom, Missouri Ironweed is one of the best attractors of late summer butterflies.

  • Grows up to 3-5 ft. tall (90-150 cm) and 3-4 ft. wide (90-120 cm). The root system is densely fibrous and rhizomatous and will form offsets to create a small colony.
  • Performs best in full sun in average, medium to wet soils. Tolerates periodic flooding.
  • Excellent choice for borders, cottage gardens, bog gardens, wildflower gardens, prairies, and meadows.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering and avoid unwanted self-seeding.
  • Cut back stems in late spring to reduce plant height if desired.
  • Propagate by seed, cold stratification required.
  • Native to central North America.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Vernonia
Common names Ironweed
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spread 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spacing 36" - 48"
(90cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ponds And Streams
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Vernonia ‘Summer’s Swan Song’ (Ironweed)
Vernonia arkansana (Arkansas Ironweed)
Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’ (Narrowleaf Ironweed)
Vernonia angustifolia (Tall Ironweed)
Vernonia baldwinii (Western Ironweed)
Vernonia fasciculata (Prairie Ironweed)

Recommended Companion Plants

Eupatorium maculatum (Spotted Joe-Pye Weed)
Osmunda claytoniana (Interrupted Fern)
Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

How to Create an Enchanting Butterfly Garden
For the Love of Butterflies: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
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Vernonia (Ironweed)
For the Love of Bees: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Vernonia
Common names Ironweed
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spread 3' - 4'
(90cm - 120cm)
Spacing 36" - 48"
(90cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Ponds And Streams
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Vernonia (Ironweed)
Not sure which Vernonia (Ironweed) to pick?
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