Native wildflower advice please!

adidas(6/7)September 15, 2013


What would you recommend I plant in a "cleared" area that is subject to being overrun in late summer and fall by hay/weedy long grass? I have found that no matter how hard I try to clear the hay in the fall it comes back relentlessly in late summer. I do not have equipment or $ to clear the area mechanically and although I'm going to try and mulch some of the area this fall I know I'm fighting an uphill battle. So, what I'm looking for is something similar to goldenrod (goldenrod seems to grow incredibly well here). I have bought some joe pye rootstock and while I'd love to have a beautifully integrated mix of species I know that that most would not be able to compete in this environment. I have some Asclepias syriaca that has managed to survive and though I know joe pye and common milkweed can be aggressive species...they are native here and I'd rather be overrun by them than by hay!

So can you throw in a few more aggressive yet native species that might have a chance of survival here? The area is in N. VA but is about 10 degs colder than urban areas because it's in the mtns. Though it's surrounded by woodland, the immediate area is devoid of trees and has only the shade of spicebushes and a few tulip poplar seedlings. It tends to bake in the summer. I actually saw a monarch butterfly on a goldenrod yesterday and we have hummers around so I need aggressive, yet native, butterfly/hummer magnet wildflowers that won't wilt in periods of little rain/baking sun.

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated!


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The late season thoroughworts (also Eupatorium) bloom white this time of year and also loved by monarchs. Liatris is very good as well. This would give you late summer blooms. I think a mini-meadow approach would be beautiful. You might try researching it from that angle. Flowers usually found in meadows can take the late summer sun and heat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meadow gardening

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Thanks for your help esh! I will be looking into thoroughworts and liatris,,,,,you don't by any chance know of any sellers in my area or between you (GA) and me (VA) rootstock sellers? TN is where I usually find stuff but I can't find anyone that does these particular species.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 12:14PM
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Sunlight Gardens has Liatris but not thoroughwort. I could send you some seed for that probably.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 9:19PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

Hummingbirds and bees love coral honeysuckle vines. Carolina jessamine is another good one if you like vines.

Purple coneflowers, indian blankets, blackeye susans and coreopsis are standards for me.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Lance leafed sunflower took over my garden.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:44PM
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dandy_line(3B (Brainerd, Mn))

Beware of the Sunflowers, they want to control us!
Why don't you try growing your own plants from seed. It is really enjoyable to start something form almost nothing and see it grow up, into a giant in some cases.
I don't think you will ever be rid of the grasses unless you take stern action like totally killing it. But it would be worth it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Thank-you all for your replies! Dandy, I spent half of last yr "winter sowing"! I cut up milk bottles, decanted soil, etc etc. I grew Asclepias sp, columbine, button bushes, spicebushes, magnolias, Monarda sp. etc etc problem is I lost most of the seedlings to drought, strong, fast growing weeds and grass and slugs! I cannot bring myself to use more chemicals. I used some on the bittersweet vines and I feel bad about that. I know that in my case, chemicals are not going to work. I really haven't got the equipment or time to battle the meadow/hay/weed grass so I thought I'd identify the strong, maybe slightly invasive natives that will survive! I'd love to have a mix of native Asclepias but if I can get a few A. tuberosa and/or syriaca to take root in different spots I'll be happy! I will of course take the seed route again 'cause I can't afford plants...just wishful thinking. Maybe I'll try some coneflowers and bad are the sunflowers?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 9:31PM
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