A fluffy haze of deep purple flowers is often covered by a parade of butterflies in late summer. Other beneficial insects feed on the nectar and the pollen. This lovely clumping native adapts well to any moist to normal soil.
Abundant nectar source for butterflies and other pollinators
Good source of pollen for beneficial insects
Old stems and flower heads provide winter cover for beneficial insects
Statuesque plants don't need staking and make a good focal point in late summer
Tolerant of a wide range of soils and conditions
Low woods, ditches and marshes; mainly near the coast; Massachusetts to Pennsylvania south to Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.
Map Credit: The Biota of North America Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)
This plant's common name is attributed to certain "iron-like" plant qualities including the tough stems, the rusty color of fading flowers and the rusty colored seeds, as well as it's iron-like constitution.
Plant in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils and conditions, but prefers rich, slightly acidic soils that remain moist. Remove flower heads before seed develops to prevent unwanted self-seeding. If you want shorter plants, cut back stems nearly to the ground in late spring Leave the stems standing through winter to provide cover for beneficial insects.