Aromatic aster is an herbaceous perennial that is found growing on limestone glades, prairies, and open woodlands. It is a small, bushy plant that grows up to 3 feet tall and spreads to form dense colonies. This late-summer blooming wildflower features blueish-purple, daisy-like flowers from August through September. Similar to other asters, the flower center is a bright yellow that matures to a deep red once pollinated
This native plant is visited by numerous pollinators, including bees and butterflies. As its name implies, the leaves and stems are aromatic and emit a balsam-like fragrance when crushed. This is a robust plant that prefers to grow in sunny, dry conditions. In the right habitat, it is quite floriferous and will have numerous blooms decorating its foliage for weeks. Aromatic aster is a versatile plant and can be a great addition to naturalistic and formal gardens alike.
Appalachian Mountain Mint is an under-used,
multifaceted plant. Native to the Southern Appalachians, this plant grows 2 to
3 feet tall and spreads 3 to 4 feet in hardiness zones 6 to 9. Its aromatic,
white, tuft-like flowers bloom summer to fall and attract butterflies and other
pollinators. The fragrant foliage has a hint of red along the margins and is
resistant to deer browsing.
Unlike many other mints, Appalachian Mountain Mint
will not take over the garden. It is a clump species and spreads slowly through
rhizomes, which is great for helping with soil erosion. Plant in well-drained
soils with full to part-sun conditions.
Appalachian Mountain Mint looks nice in naturalized
areas, meadows, mass plantings in the landscape, or near vegetable gardens to
entice pollinators. Since the flower is showy, it also makes a nice cut flower.
To add winter interest to your garden, resist cutting back the spent seed
heads. These can add an element of texture to the landscape and are a beautiful
addition to dried wreaths and arrangements.
Whorled Tickseed is an herbaceous
perennial native to Eastern North America. It grows 2.5 to 3 feet tall and
spreads 1.5 to 2 feet in zones 3 to 9. Yellow daisy-like flowers appear June
through September and are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. Once
Whorled Tickseed is established, it can survive tough conditions including full
sun, drought, shallow-rocky soil, and deer pressure.
The foliage has an airy, thread-like appearance. Foliage may be cut back in the summer if sprawling occurs or to encourage fall rebloom. Indicative to its name, tickseed is named after the seeds’ resemblance to ticks.
Whorled Tickseed looks nice in naturalized or cottage gardens where it has room move. It self-seeds and spreads by rhizomes. It pairs nicely with other wildflowers, especially those with purple blooms. Its cheery-yellow color looks nice as a cut flower. Popular cultivars include ‘Moonbeam’, which has a paler yellow flower, and ‘Zagreb’ which is more compact and has slightly darker disks.
Despite being native to wet areas, this herbaceous
perennial has a surprisingly high tolerance for heat and drought once
established. It is native to the Southeastern United States and grows in hardiness
zones 5 to 9 with average moisture and well-drained soil. It grows to 2 feet
tall and spreads 1 to 1.5 feet, which makes it a great option for
planting along the edge the of garden beds or water edge. In full
sun, the blue flowers will bloom from May to June and attract butterflies and
Stokes’ Aster can be used in the landscape, in pots,
and as a cut flower. There are several different cultivars of Stokes’ Aster and
they vary in size and color. Stokesialaevis ‘Alba’ has a similar size,
blooms June through September, and has white flower. Stokesia ‘Peachie’s Pick’ has a blue flower and is more compact. Stokesia ‘Colorwheel’ has white flowers
that change to lavender then dark purple.
After the flower is spent, they can be removed to
promote a second bloom. Stokesia laevis pairs
nicely with pale yellow flowers and makes a great addition to home landscapes.
The obedient plant or false dragonhead is a very fun plant that has some very unique qualities. First of all, the obedient plant’s common name comes from the flowers’ unique pliable nature. The flower heads can be pushed along the axis of the stem and will remain wherever they are moved. This makes the plant very useful for cut flowers or flower arrangements. This plant is a rhizomatous perennial that is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. A common characteristic of this family is a square stem. The flowers a pale lilac with a tubular shape and snapdragon appearance that grow on terminal spikes. The flower spikes bloom from the bottom to top from late June to September. P. virginiana has sharply toothed, lanceolate leaves arranged in an opposite manner. The square stems can reach up to 4 feet but may fall over if the soils are too rich or it is not receiving enough sun. Beware this plant can spread rather aggressively either by seed or rhizomatously with stolons. To prevent this a gardener can pull up the undesired shallow roots to keep the plant tamed.
Obedient plant lives in a wide variety of habitats from open meadows to stream banks. It is native to much of North America from Quebec to Florida and even west to New Mexico. This plant is great because it can tolerate moist soils with poor drainage or soils on the drier end of the spectrum. The nectar of this plant is desirable to many species of butterflies and even attracts hummingbirds. Overall this is an excellent plant and can really give a show in the late summer, early fall especially if used in a rain garden.