Plant of the week – Zizia aurea

Golden Alexanders is a long blooming native perennial in the Carrot family, Apiaceae. When content, it can easily bloom for six to eight weeks during the spring. We want to highlight it this week because of its incredible beauty and ecological importance. Hopefully, we can motivate you to plant some and make a difference while enjoying gardening!

Zizia is the true native host plant for the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar. Also, its plentiful umbel flowers attract a vast array of pollinating insects ranging from hoverflies, ornamental wasps, beetles, moths, butterflies, and many kinds of bees. At times plants can be covered with caterpillars, which is a great thing! We need more butterflies, and planting Zizia can help. After the caterpillars finish feeding, Zizia will quickly bounce right back into its stride and will produce a new flush of foliage. It is a very adaptable plant that can grow in full sun with adequate moisture and can also likewise grow in a fair amount of shade. Make sure it gets at a minimum filtered light or blooming will decrease. Although short-lived, Zizia self-sows well, naturalizing in the garden. If spreading is a concern, remove and collect the seedheads and sow seeds in pots. Leave the containers outside for the winter to let the cold condition the seeds for spring germination.

Another plus is Zizia’s deer resistance. Deer rarely seem to browse it, as it’s pungent foliage is not something they like on their menu. We hope all of our customers can make a stand and plant some Zizia to make a difference. You’ll be giving back to nature with every plant planted. All of our Zizia is grown on site naturally and responsibly. It has never been sprayed, so it is safe for pollinators and the caterpillars that will soon be feeding on it. Try pairing it with Amsonia or Bluestar in the backdrop, which blooms at the same time in a sky blue creating a stellar combination in the garden. Thanks for reading and growing with us. Rohsler’s Grown Golden Alexanders are grown locally and naturally at our nursery.

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