by Amanda Rose Newton
As stunning as many of our native wildflowers are, it’s shocking how few are readily available at your neighborhood nursery. Luckily, many of these fabulous Florida originators are elbowing their way into the nursery trade, offering a whole new palate for all gardeners, whether growing native is a priority or not.
Since April is Earth Month, now is the perfect time to appreciate what we have growing here, in our own state.
Each week on the blog, we will be featuring a different wildflower or shrub native to Florida that may or may not be new to you, all of which can be found in our newly-expanded native sections, located in both Annuals and Perennials as well as Shrubs and Trees.
The Star of Your Flower Bed
This week’s flower of choice is a spring stunner that’s sure to turn heads! Starry Rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus) has all the sunshine and cheer one would expect from a sunflower, in a compact, whimsical form. Robust and easy to grow, it naturally can be found in several diverse Florida ecosystems including flatwoods, sandhills, and even along roadsides.
Rosinweed flowers are not just appealing to our eyes– the bees, birds, and butterflies all flock to its bright yellow disc-shaped inflorescence.
If you are looking for a flower with a long bloom time, this is it! It will persist in the landscape, dieback in the winter, and re-seed. The seeds can easily be collected from the seed heads and saved for future plantings and projects.
The Starry Rosinweed can be grown throughout Brevard county and prefers slightly moist, well-draining soils. Needing little in the way of amending, you shouldn’t need to fertilize this one. The average height is 3 feet tall, but it is not uncommon to see these get to 5 feet.
Like most members of the aster family (think sunflower or coneflower), Rosinweed perform best in full sun and benefit from de-heading throughout the season. If you choose to let them go to seed, they provide a delicious treat for birds and other hungry wildlife.
While starry rosinweed may be the star of the flower bed, there is certainly room for the inclusion of other florals to include to complete your native garden. The list below boasts a few of the readily-available Florida Natives that perform well in the presence of Starry Rosinweed.
Stoke’s Aster (Stokesia laevis)- Purple Blooms, 2 feet tall
Tickseeds (Coreopsis)- Yellow to Red Blooms, 1 to 2 feet tall
Blazing Stars (Liatris)- Purple Bloom, 3 feet
Black-eyed Susan– (Rudbeckia hirta)- Yellow and Black Blooms, 3 feet
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum spp.)- Yellow bloom, 1-8 feet depending on species
By planting starry rosinweed you are not only creating seasonal beauty but also increasing the biodiversity of your landscape. Talk about being Earth Friendly!