Mistflower can be found along creek banks and natural meadows. Spreads by rhizomes, good soil stabilizer.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Eupatorium coelestinum is a compact rhizomatous perennial wildflower. Leaves are bright green with a prominent network of veins somewhat like those of mint. From mid-summer until autumn purplish stems are topped with soft masses of powder-blue fuzzy flowers. The blooms are frequented by butterflies, bees and skippers. This robust plant forms colonies in sunny or partly shaded sites with moist to average soil.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Eupatorium coelestinum is common in the eastern United States from New York to Florida and west to Nebraska and Texas.
Plants are indigenous to moist open woods especially edges and clearings, banks of lakes, rivers, creeks or ditches, moist meadows, wet prairies, sandy coastal wetlands, bottomlands, seeps, fields, roadsides and right-of ways.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 5-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Eupatorium coelestinum is an upright branched perennial. Stems are clothed in pairs of attractive triangular, ovate or heart shaped leaves. The blades have a crenate or serrate margin, slender petioles and prominent veins.
In mid to late summer, showy flat topped corymbs appear atop of the bright green leaves. The flowers are borne in tufts of fluffy or fringy disc florets. In full bloom, a mass of the flowers resembles a misty drift.
The flower color is a unique soft blue-purple that is a wonderful complement to the golden yellow daisies that are also prominent in early autumn.
Plants grow 1-3’ tall with 2’ spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: This is an adaptable wildflower that grows in full sun if sufficient moisture is present. Established plants tolerate drought but in dry sites, plants may fare best in light shade.
Eupatorium coelestinum tolerates, alkaline pH, heavy clay or in soils high in organic matter.
Plants may be a bit rambunctious for small manicured gardens. In confined spaces, rampant growth may need to be curbed be thinning and dividing on a regular basis.
This species is pest resistant and foliage is unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: The unique flower color provides soothing relief during the season of yellow flowers. Eupatorium coelestinum is a good Groundcover for a Wildlife Garden or moist Meadow. Plants are also used as Butterfly Nectar Plants, Cut Flowers, Accents or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting. This wildflower has Showy Blooms and provides Erosion Control. It can be used in Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Rain Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and on Roadsides.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Eupatorium coelestinum with Aster laevis, Coreopsis tripteris, Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia siphilitica, Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida, Solidago rugosa or Sorghastrum nutans.
Although plants are taller and flowers are pinker, Eupatorium dubium could be substituted in some situations.
TRIVIA: Unlike other members of the Aster Family, Eupatorium spp. flowers are composed only of disc florets with no raysEupatorium coelestinum is an important nectar source for migrating butterflies and skippers. Flowers also provide nectar and pollen for native bees.
Plants contain alkaloids that some species of male butterflies need to make pheromones. The alkaloid content, however, makes plants bitter and unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
This species is also known as Conoclinium coelestinum. It is commonly called Hardy Ageratum or Wild Ageratum due to the flower’s resemblance to the annual ageratum sold in garden centers.
For more information on this plant, visit the USDA PLANTS Database: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=coco13