A Second Chance For Mistflower
When I got home last Friday I found that our second spring shipment of plants had arrived. Only one species was included: Mistflower (Conoclonium coelestinum). (I think this late spring is wreaking havoc with plant shipment schedules – I’ve got quite a few other species ordered that have yet to arrive.)
This is the second time I’m giving Mistflower a try. A few years ago I planted it along the West Hedge of the back garden. It’s a spot that tends to dry out in summer, and supplemental watering is difficult to provide. The Mistflower didn’t make it.
Mistflower likes moisture. It also likes part sun, but is otherwise fairly adaptable. It is supposed to grow 1-3′ tall and spreads rapidly by rhizomes. Native from New York to Florida, then west to Nebraska and Texas, it has blue-purple flowers in late summer and fall.
For its second chance, I’m placing Mistflower in the Bird Bath Bed along the south side of the back porch. This gets plenty of moisture thanks to a nearby downspout, plus I tend to provide some extra water whenever I fill our little bird bath/fountain.
It’s a bed full of ferns, Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), and spring bulbs – but gets a bit sparse by summer. There are some Crooked-Stem Aster (Symphyotrichum prenanthoides), but they can’t carry summer and fall on their own. My hope is that the Mistflower will be one of several new ingredients that will keep things full and colorful throughout the gardening season.
Mistflower used to be in the same genus with the Joe Pye Weeds (Eutrochium), and the flowers are pretty similar. However, what the taxonomists had joined they then pulled asunder. Mistflower also looks a lot like annual Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), and some people call it by the common name Hardy Ageratum.
I hope that these Mistflowers succeed. I generally have a three strikes and you’re out rule for plants: after I’ve killed it three times I stop trying to grow it. Though I’ve been known to make exceptions.
Do you have any experience growing Mistflower in your garden?