In an objective trial, there should be no favorites, but Missouri ironweed ( V. missurica ) was mine. Bright violet flowers sprout from plump purple buds, putting on one of the best shows of late summer I’ve seen. Its lance-shaped leaves, up to 7 inches long, are fuzzy and silvery due to the dense white hairs on the undersides. As a toucher, I never pass Missouri ironweed without caressing the velvety leaves. Compared to other ironweeds, I’ve always thought there is something more refined about Missouri ironweed than its stoutness suggests.
Photos: Marianne Majerus/Marianne Majerus Garden Images, Nancy J. Ondra, Michelle GervaisPhotos: millettephotomedia.com, Courtesy of N.C. State Extension, Courtesy of Chicagoland Grows, Jo [email protected], Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Courtesy of Jelitto Staudensamen GmbH, Courtesy of Chicagoland Gardens
8 Amazing Shrubs
Nowadays, the growing interest in pollinators has made native plants sexy, so it’s the perfect time to get to know ironweeds a little better.
Flowers: Ironweeds are in the aster family but lack their flamboyant, petal-like ray florets. Instead, upward of 50 or more tubular disk florets crowd into compact flowerheads enclosed by leafy bracts that are unique to a species and helpful in identification. Some flowerheads measure a foot across or more.
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil but adaptable to drier and/or gravelly soil
If your lawn grows in the acidic soils of the U.S. Southeast, Centipede grass may be the perfect option for a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn. Pennington is dedicated to producing the finest grass seed and premium lawn care products possible. With the Pennington email newsletter and online resources, you can learn, grow and enjoy an attractive, healthy lawn — wherever you live.
Schedule month-by-month tasks for Centipede lawns as you would other warm-season grasses. Seeding new lawns and overseeding thin lawns are best done in spring, as active growth kicks in. Proper preparation and conditions are important. Pennington Centipede Grass Seed & Mulch includes a natural mulch product that improves spreadability and encourages germination by retaining moisture. Pennington TifBlair Centipede & Mulch combines those benefits with TifBlair, a variety with superior cold tolerance.
Unlike Bermudagrass and other warm-season lawns, Centipede grass should not be overseeded in fall with ryegrasses for winter color. The resulting competition can weaken Centipede’s root system and cause the grass to fail. 1
Characteristics to Consider
Centipede grass is native to China and Southeast Asia, but it’s been in the U.S. since seeds were first brought here in 1916. 1 Centipede is what’s known as a warm-season grass, meaning its most productive growth period comes during warm weather, from late spring through the hot summer months. Centipede grass is more sensitive to cold than many other warm-season grasses, but when grown in mild climates, this perennial can withstand winters year after year.
Centipede’s outstanding tolerance to heat doesn’t equate to drought tolerance, another plus for the Southeast and its high annual rainfall. Compared to other warm-season grasses, Centipede’s root system is relatively shallow. This means extra vigilance and watering during times of low rainfall. Once normal conditions return, Centipede recovers from stress rapidly.
1. Duble, R.L., “Centipedegrass,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
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