This Ontario native is irresistible to songbirds, pollinators and butterflies. Its showy 3.75 cm (1.5″) wide violet-purple blooms with yellow-orange eyes appear from mid August through to deep October. Enjoys full sun but will also grow in partial shade and is most often found in moist soils in open fields, fence rows, forest borders and meadows. Plants range from 60-120 cm (2-4′) in height. Often during flowering, lower leaves on the stem shrivel and dry up – this is common and nothing to be alarmed about. Perennial hardy to Zone 3.
How to Grow
2400 seeds/gram. Sow seed indoors in early March no more than 3 mm (1/8″) deep in a soil-less growing medium. Moisten the growing medium then place the container in a refrigerator or freezer for 2-3 weeks before bringing it back into the warmth. Keep at 20 C (70 F) for the 21 to 35 plus day germination period. After that grow on under lights at a slightly cooler temperature before hardening off and planting out in a sunny or semi-shaded site. Direct fall sowing outside is also very effective as this allows any dormant seed to be naturally stratified during the winter. It generally takes two years for this plant to flower when grown from seed.