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.)

A box of plants! Yay!

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.

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Plugs of Mistflower lounging on the patio table.

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 in bloom – photo from Wildflower.org.


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?

48 Comments on “A Second Chance For Mistflower”

  1. Hello Jason, I have a three strikes out policy too and funnily enough, have a post titled this waiting to be posted as we lost our third Phoenix Canariensis due to frosting of the crown and so that’s it, I’ve given up on having them in the garden. I hope your mist flower fares better.

  2. I grew them for a few seasons, back when they were Eupatorium coelestinum. They spread manageably, and seemed on the verge of spreading unmanageably; then we had a droughty winter and spring that eliminated them entirely.
    Their roots aren’t deep, and few established plants get extra water here. Pollinators mobbed them, and the color is nice with a little freshening white nearby (which could be the white form of mistflower, or phlox, or white-variegated hosta, or white balloonflower…).

  3. Wishing you a smashing success on this second try with these beautiful flowers. Is the label on the package for handlers or a warning to plant addict recipients? It’s difficult to keep cool when a package of live plants arrives at one’s door.

  4. Mistflower is one of those “couldn’t kill it with an herbicide” plants in my garden. If this new installment doesn’t live, I’ll happily send you some of mine.

    BTW I found your blog recently via some google rabbit hole. I can’t remember what I had googled, but your photos of Rumeli Hisari popped up. I worked in Istanbul a number of years ago and I lived in the neighborhoods above the Hisar. When I returned to the US, I left a big part of my heart in Turkey. Seeing those images made my day! Thanks for posting.

    • You’re welcome. We loved Istanbul, but the recent news from Turkey makes us rather sad – the authoritarianism, etc. I would very much love to go back – there’s so much in Turkey that we didn’t see, and Istanbul itself has so much to explore. Rumeli Hisari was definitely one of the highlights for us, but there were so many!

      • Ugh, yes, Erdogan was starting his political career when I was there. He was elected mayor of Istanbul toward the end of my time. The day after the election, some of his “friends” drove around town throwing razor blades and women with visible ankles. So when he took his politics national, I got worried. And now, my poor Turkiye. I am so worried.

        On the flip side, Erdogan did an amazing job cleaning up the city! The piles of garbage were gone, the rampant porn was gone, the streets had lines painted on them, etc. It looked and smelled clean and fresh.

        I hope to go back one day soon. Maybe just not right now.

      • I feel the same – would love to go back, but … If we ever do go back, I’d like to explore the Asian side of Istanbul, and spend lots of time on the ferries! I’d also really like to see more of the Black Sea and Aegean coasts.

  5. Fingers crossed for your “hardy ageratum”. I’m trying woodland phlox for the second time this year, I do so love it’s fragrant pale blue spring flowers. I, too, follow the three strikes and you’re out plant rule. Re: blue vervain, it looks as if I may have lost it with this crazy winter past. I’ll let you know soon. No sign of it, or its numerous offspring yet. Drat!

  6. I grew hardy ageratum when we lived in Mobile, AL – it did extremely well and expanded assertively with no special care. Each spring I would pull out the areas I didn’t want, back to where it was “allowed” and it stayed there without hassle until the next springtime. I loved it. I need to find some and try it here. Hope this spot works better for you.

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