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failing ironweed; Vernonia fasciculata. what am I doing wrong?

Posted by maiden_minnesota zone 3 (My Page) on
Mon, May 25, 09 at 13:46

I planted a Common Ironweed, Vernonia fasciculata, 3 years ago. This is the 3rd spring. Each year it gets smaller and smaller. Last year it had only 1 stem. Just now I was looking to see if it was coming back and could not find it. I started digging (carefullY!) and found the crown about 8 inches down with 4 very tiny "Nubbins" that were still alive. The roots went quite deep, at least 14 inches, and I ended up breaking them off at 12 inches. From what I've read this should be a very hardy plant. It is planted in full sun, mostly sandy soil. I water during dry spells. My tester showed the Ph to be about 6. Does anyone have any suggestions what I should do? I'd like to get it replanted soon. I've heeled it in for now. Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: failing ironweed; Vernonia fasciculata. what am I doing wrong

Ironweed prefers consistent moisture, so you may need to water it more often. This is a tough and hardy plant, so wherever you decide to put the plant you dug up should be OK, and you may also see a new plant emerge from the roots that you left in the ground in the original location. I have Western ironweed that comes up in several locations in my cottage garden, how it got there in the first place, I'm not sure. But no matter how much I dig, chop or trim it, it keeps coming back. It does look pretty though, so I don't hate it too much. Cheryl

RE: failing ironweed; Vernonia fasciculata. what am I doing wrong

I've had good luck germinating V. baldwini and V. novaborasensis here in Z4. They come up nicely and have great blooms. I can send you some seeds this fall if you like.

RE: failing ironweed; Vernonia fasciculata. what am I doing wrong

Ironweed is very slow to start growing in the spring. Once it gets above the soil, it shoots right up. I would try some seeds or other plants to see how they do. Maybe your one plant is stunted for some reason. Was it getting crowded out by other plants?

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