An annual with small, sunflower-like blooms, melampodium graces any garden with tons of golden color. Blooming nonstop from spring through frost, this plant can be used in containers as a cheerful filler that work well with other sun-loving annuals.
Melampodium is known for its constant display of blossoms. Each flower looks like a miniature sunflower with bright yellow petals around a dark gold center. A few others species have cream and white petals and yellow centers. Melampodium begins blooming in late May and continues blooming all the way until frost. The flowers are held atop small medium-green leaves with dark, almost black lower stems, which is where the common name of black foot comes from.
Melampodium Care Must-Knows
Easy to grow in a variety of conditions, melampodium grows well in containers and in garden beds. Because this plant is native to areas with rocky soil, it requires well-drained soil to thrive. Melampodium is drought-resistant and heat-tolerant. It grows best with regular watering and drying out slightly between waterings. To keep it blooming all season long, add a slow-release fertilizer or a general purpose liquid fertilizer according to the label.
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For sun requirements, melampodium grows best in full sun. This encourages the most flowers and helps to keep the plant compact. As many varieties of melampodium get older, they tend to become leggy and may flop open, ruining the overall appeal of the plant. Planting it in full sun prevents this from happening. You can also pinch back back the stems early on in the growth or shear it back if it begins to flop open. Full sun is also a good way to prevent melampodium from getting powdery mildew.
Typically you do not have to worry about removing spent blooms as melampodium quickly grows past its old blossoms. If you don't want it dropping seeds around the garden, deadheading is the best way to prevent inadvertent spreading.
More Varieties of Melampodium
'Lemon Delight' Melampodium
Melampodium 'Lemon Delight' bears masses of lemon-yellow flowers on a compact, 10-inch-tall plant.
Melampodium 'Melanie' bears lots of golden-yellow flowers on a compact, 10-inch-tall plant.
Melampodium Companion Plants
This tough plant endures poor soil, baked conditions, and drought beautifully and still produces bold-color, daisylike flowers from summer to frost. A perennial in Zones 9-11—the hottest parts of the country—gazania is grown as an annual elsewhere and blooms from mid-summer to frost. A summer plant often grown as an annual, gazania bears boldly colored daisy-shaped flowers from summer to frost. The flowers appear over toothed dark green or silver leaves (the foliage color differs between varieties). They're great in beds and borders and containers, too. Plant established seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Do not fertilize, and keep soil on the dry side.
Just as you'd expect from something called French, these marigolds are the fancy ones. French marigolds tend to be frilly and some boast a distinctive "crested eye." They grow roughly 8-12 inches high with a chic, neat, little growth habit and elegant dark green foliage. They do best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil and will flower all summer long. They may reseed, coming back year after year, in spots where they're happy.
There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.