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Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Vernonia noveboracensis

New York ironweed

Deep purple haze in damp meadows, roadsides and pastures. A lovely native that adapts well to any moist location.

SIZE
Vernonia noveboracensis LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

4-7 Feet

Spread

2-4 Feet

Spacing

12-18 Inches

Bloom Color

Violet

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

New York ironweed Interesting Notes

In late August and early September, one can spot a deep purple haze as they drive past damp meadows, roadsides, and pastures. Vernonia noveboracensis is a lovely native that adapts well to any moist location and can be seen thriving alongside Eupatorium and Solidago in the wild, creating a beautiful patchwork late season display. Growing from 4-6’ tall and 2-3’ wide, ironweed has stiff, leafy stems topped with violet clusters of flowers. It earns the common name by ironweed’s tough nature, deep root system, and the way the plant gracefully ages to a rusty-iron patina in fall.

Vernonia novaboracensis is found in low woods, ditches and marshes from Massachusetts to Alabama and Florida. Ironweed thrives in full sun in moist garden soil or a boggy ditch. While it needs consistent moisture to be happy, it can tolerate short periods of dryness as well as average garden locations without undue stress. When planted in a happy situation, the plant can vigorously self-sow. Trimming plants back after bloom will limit their spread. If a shorter height is desired, a cut back of foliage in early summer to reduce the final height of the plant.

Vernonia novaboracensis is tolerant of many conditions including the presence of black walnut and clay soils. The plant’s flowers provide a nectar source to many species of bees, butterflies, skippers, and moths while the seedheads are eaten by birds. 

Vernonia noveboracensis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Thrives in full sun in moist garden soil or a boggy ditch. Needs consistent moisture to be happy, but will tolerate short periods of dryness. Due to its tall height, we would recommend this plant be placed in the back of a perennial border or cottage gardens. It is an excellent selection for wildflower gardens, meadows or naturalized areas. 

Good Substitutions

ironweed Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'
ironweed Vernonia 'Summer's Surrender'
ironweed Vernonia 'Summer's Swan Song'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Songbird-friendly
Songbird-friendly
Pollinator-friendly
Pollinator-friendly
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Summer
Summer

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Dry
Average
Green Infrastructure
Bioretention/Rain Garden
Meadow/Prairie
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Wetland (FACW)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Attributes
Native to North America
Clay Tolerance
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Propagation Type
Open pollinated