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Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly' - Ironweed (photo credit: Growing Colors)

Perennials

Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly'

Ironweed

Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly', or ironweed, is a compact, upright, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial. Grown for its vigorous growth, compact habit, and floriferous nature. The finely textured leaves are thin and narrow, showy bright-purple flowers appear in mid to late summer. The bitter-tasting leaves are not appealing to deer.


The sheer number and variety of insects drawn to their profuse display of late-season purple flowers is astonishing. The only plant group with greater insect visitation in a Chicago Botanic Garden trial was Pycnanthemum (Mountain Mint). The flowers attract bevies of butterflies, skippers, moths, native bees and the occasional hummingbird.

Additional:

'Iron Butterfly' comes from Dr. Allan Armitage's trials at the University of Georgia.

Nectar source for the following butterflies-Monarch, Orange Sulfur, Pecks Skipper, Sachem Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Swallowtails

Ironweed Growing and Maintenance Tips:

Easily grown in well-draining soils of average fertility in full sun. Tolerant of various soil conditions, including hot, dry, rocky, and alkaline. Also tolerant of occasional flooding and drought once established.

Height:

24-36 in

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Spread:

24-36 in

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Hardiness Zone:

4 - 9

Characteristics & Attributes for Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly'

Exposure
Sun
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Attracts Wildlife
Songbirds
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Pollinators
Critter Resistance
Deer Resistant
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Summer
Fall
Attributes
Mass Planting
Naturalizing
Border or Bed
Rock Garden
Rain Garden
Cut Flower
Specimen
Clay Soil
Focal Point
Great Companion Plants for Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly'
Goldenrod Goldenrod (Solidago 'Little Lemon')
Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa )
Bee Balm Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa )
Willowleaf Sunflower Willowleaf Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius 'Autumn Gold')
Similar Plants to Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly'
Slender Mountain Mint Slender Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium )