Vernonia chinensis in bloom
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 5 feet
Spacing: 30 inches
Hardiness Zone: 5b
Other Names: Ironweed
This variety is right at home in a meadow; long blooming masses of purple flowers sway in the breeze in early summer; great for borders or massed as an accent; very undemanding and drought tolerant
Chinese Ironweed has masses of beautiful ray-like plumes of purple flowers with hot pink eyes at the ends of the stems from late spring to mid summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. Its serrated pointy leaves remain green in color throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Chinese Ironweed is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Chinese Ironweed is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- General Garden Use
- Container Planting
Planting & Growing
Chinese Ironweed will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 30 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.
This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.
Chinese Ironweed is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.