Yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia, formerly Actinomeris alternifolia) grows in clumps of upright, “winged” stems: hence the other common name, wingstem. They’re topped in late spring to early fall with bright yellow, daisy-form blooms that are popular with butterflies and beneficial insects.
Yellow ironweed generally grows 4 to 8 feet tall, but the long-lived plants can eventually reach to 10 feet or more. At this size, and because of their tendency to self-sow, they’re obviously best-suited to a very large-scale borders and meadow plantings. This U.S. native pairs perfectly with the purple-flowered ironweeds (Vernonia), pink Joe-Pye weeds (Eutrochium), and tall grasses, such as big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans).
One special feature of this plant—and the reason I decided to grow it in the first place—is its association with an amazing natural phenomenon called frost flowers. If you’re curious, run “frost flower” through your favorite search site. I did get to see one in person but it melted before I got a photo. If I get to see one this winter, I will add a photo here!
Full sun to light shade. Perennial; Zones 4 to 8.
Collected in September 2021. At least 15 seeds.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.