Wildflower Wednesday: Wild Blue Ageratum

Always, in September, I can count on the Conoclinium coelestinum (a/k/aEupatorium coelestinum) to bloom throughout my garden.  Wild blue ageratum is hardy here and many other places since it is grown from USDA Zones 5(a) to 9(b).  Like many wild plants it is much beloved by butterflies and bees.  I especially like its other common name blue mistflower, because it does weave through my shadier beds like a mist of sky blue.

This afternoon, as I took photos, I found the first Monarch I’ve seen in the garden feasting upon its nectar.  Monarchs are more patient subjects than the sulphur butterflies.  As long as I don’t move too quickly, they will pose in a queenly fashion while I snap portrait after portrait.  The sulphurs, on the other hand, rush to and fro as busy as a mother of toddler triplets.  I never come upon them unawares.

The mistflower is also beloved of other butterflies and hummingbirds.  In fact, while on my knees, I heard a loud chirping behind me followed by the beating of wings so fast, it sounded like a large bumblebee.  I turned, and a hummer helicoptered next to me, tilting his head before dipping his wings and flying off.

Now for the facts about Conoclinium coelestinum courtesy of Floridata:

“Mistflower is a herbaceous perennial which spreads by creeping rhizomes and covers the ground with a mat of opposite, wrinkled, coarsely toothed, triangular leaves 1-3 in (2.5-7.6 cm) long on short petioles. In autumn mistflower produces branched stems 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) tall that bear dense, flat clusters, 2-4 in (5-10 cm) across, of irregular fuzzy flowerheads – 30-70 flowerheads per cluster. There are no ray flowers, only disk flowers, and it’s their long stamens that cause the fuzzy appearance.”

Monarch as seen from below
Monarch as seen from below; weird angle huh?

Conoclinium coelestinum can outstay its welcome because it spreads so easily.  Here, it grows without any assistance in both sun and shade, and I pull out handfuls in the spring.  However, when the monarch posed so prettily, I was glad I’d left plenty to sustain him on his voyage to Mexico.

My friend, Gail at Clay and Limestone often does Wildflower Wednesday, and this week I decided to join in.  What wildflowers do you grow in your garden?

10 Replies to “Wildflower Wednesday: Wild Blue Ageratum”

  1. I look forward to seeing you soon at GWA. I think this ageratum might be the only wildflower growing in my beds and I sure enjoy it. Beautiful photos and we have some Monarchs visiting today.

  2. Hey Dear! This is my favorite wildflower (this week);) The stand I have in my sunny garden has reddish stems that make the light green foliage and blue flowers pop. I don't mind that it is enthusiastic~~It pulls out fairly easily. I am glad you joined in to share this beauty~~thanks for the sweet link! gail

  3. I have lots of wildflowers but the one that is taking the stage right now is the talll Jeruselam artichoke. I forget wha its real name is. Some people call it everblooming sunflower. It only blooms in fall and it will grow to 12' tall if given enough water and light. I have often thought of getting these mist flowers going in the garden but have yet to do it. They are gorgeous and such a pretty blue.

  4. Oh Dee, I'm in love with this little plant! I planted three starts this spring, one broke, so I stuck it in the gorund and now have 4 vigorous plants abloom. I just love the color–sometimes blue, sometimes purple. It really does a good job ov covering up the ugly dead starting to creap up taller plants behind it. And it blooms in September! I've so many fall bloomers (not nearly enough for spring, alas). Waiting for Aster laevis and Aster tart. 'Eric's Big Blue' to show me their first time stuff.

  5. Yea, the sulfurs always lead me on a merry chase. I'm 'happy' to know I'm not the only one people think are stumbling around drunk in the yard.

    I'd love to grow some Mistflower, I have an area where an aggressive butterfly magnet would be welcome. Too bad the winters here would take more out of it than it's aggressive nature.

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