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Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'
Iron Butterfly Narrow-leaf Ironweed

$15.00 $19.50
This size 25 in stock Product ID: 808769

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CULTURAL CONDITIONS

Plant Min Zone: 4b

Plant Max Zone: 9b

Sunlight: All Day Full Sun, Full Sun, Part Sun

Water / Rainfall: Low, Average

Soil Quality: Poor, Average

FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE

Bloom Season: Early Summer, Summer

Flower Color: Magenta, Purple, Reddish Purple

Berry / Fruit Color: None

Spring Foliage Color: Green

Summer Foliage Color: Green

Fall Foliage Color: Green

Evergreen Foliage: No

Winter Interest: Yes

Scented Flowers: No

PLANT TOLERANCES

Drought Tolerance: Medium, High

Wet-Feet Tolerance: Medium, High

Humidity Tolerance: Medium, High

Wind Tolerance: High

Poor Soil Tolerance: Clay Soils, Rocky Soils, Shallow Soils, Sandy Soils, Acidic Soil (low PH), Alkaline Soils (high PH)

GROWTH AND MAINTENANCE

Height: 2' - 2.5'

Width: 2' - 3'

Growth Rate: Medium

Service Life: Very Long: 10-20 years

Maintenance Need: Almost Zero Maintenance

Spreading Potential: Low

Yearly Trimming Tips: Trim Perennial to 6-12" off Ground in Early Spring before New Growth: Has Winter Interest.

PLANT USES AND LIMITATIONS

Plant Grouping Size: Small Grouping of 3-5, Medium Grouping of 5-10, Mass Planting of 10 or more

Best Side of House: South Exposure, West Exposure, East Exposure

Extreme Planting Locations: Top of Retaining Wall Locations, Survives Severe Drought, Tolerates Extreme Heat

Ornamental Features: Multiple Seasons of Interest, Long Blooming Season, Long Lasting Fall Color, Fine Texture, Exceptional / Colorful Foliage

Special Landscape Uses: Groundcover, Naturalizing

Possible Pest Problems: Rabbits

Plant Limitations: None

Description

Narrow-leaf Ironweed (Vernonia lettermannii) is a relatively new plant to horticulture; originally discovered in Arkansas along gravel stream beds in the wild. The Iron Butterfly cultivar (Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly') is a dwarf compact cultivar introduced by Dr. Allan Armitage at the University of Georgia. This is a true four-seasons perennial that belongs in almost every perennial garden. In the spring, narrow dark green foliage resembling Amsonia hubrichtii creates a compact shrub-like appearance. The growth is so dense that no weeds have a chance of invading a mature stand of plants. By mid to late summer, gorgeous deep purple fine-textured flowers cover the plant for 4-6 weeks. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators flock to the occasion. Following the bloom, the flower stocks are sturdy and hold up very well for fall and winter interest. The flowers themselves produce mostly non-viable seed and cling to the plant creating a silvery shine whenever sunlight hits it. This can be very useful and dried flower arrangements as well as winter interest gardens. At some point in the winter, all top growth will need to be cut back as this is the only maintenance required. Despite being native to gravel and sand bars along rivers, Iron butterfly Vernonia surprisingly can handle very dry clay, gravelly, or sandy soils along with short periods of flooding. Permanently wet soil is not favored but it can handle the upper portions of a rain garden. Iron butterfly has only one pest problem and that is rabbits! If rabbits are an issue, just put a bowl-shaped chicken wire cage around the plants for the first year. By year #2, the rapidly growing foliage will outgrow any detrimental rabbit browsing. This is definitely one of the most adapted landscape plants in Kansas zone 6a with no problems with heat or cold, dry or wet! It’s hard to imagine a perennial garden without this plant!

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