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Culver's Root

Veronicastrum virginicum

Also known as Bowman’s root, Culver’s root is a tall, stately plant that bears long spikes of densely clustered flowers for several weeks in midsummer. The white, lavender, or blue blossoms are surrounded by dark-green lance-shape leaves whorled around the stem. This native plant of North America attracts butterflies and is especially popular with sweat bees, small carpenter bees, bumble bees, and honey bees. Culver’s root is a frequent member of prairie plant populations.

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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

3 to 8 feet

Width:

2 to 4 feet

Flower Color:

Seasonal Features:

Zones:

3-9

Propagation

Native Prairie Plants

Culver's root boasts a bold, upright form that adds height, structure, and texture to cottage garden designs, casual perennial borders, and native plant gardens. Create a pocket prairie—an oasis for native birds and insects—using Culver's root and other colorful native plants like purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), bee balm (Monarda bradburiana), Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), and goldenrod (Solidago speciosa). Add easy ornamental grasses that are native to your area, and your pocket prairie is ready to welcome visitors.

Create a prairie garden using this plan.

How to Care For Culver's Root

Culver's root grows best in full sun and medium to wet, well-drained, humus-rich soil. It tolerates light shade, but too much shade may cause the plant to develop a weak central stem and fall over midseason. Plant Culver's root along streambeds and ravines or in low spots where soil stays moist for long periods of time. Regular watering and a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch will help Culver's root grow well in average soil.

After plants bloom in midsummer, snip off the spent flowers to encourage the development of new flower spikes. Stake these perennial plants in early summer, if necessary. Culver's root can be divided in early spring. Count on plants to take 3 to 5 years to get established after division.

Learn how to divide perennials here.

More Varieties of Culver's Root

'Fascination' Culver's root

Veronicastrum virginicum 'Fascination' has spikes of light violet-blue pink flowers. It's about 3½ feet tall in bloom. Zones 3-8

Plant Culver's Root With:

Phlox
Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Daylily
Daylilies are so easy to grow you'll often find them growing in ditches and fields, escapees from gardens. And yet they look so delicate, producing glorious trumpet-shape blooms in myriad colors. In fact, there are some 50,000 named hybrid cultivars in a range of flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant.The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts but a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous.Shown above: 'Little Grapette' daylily
Sedum
Sedums are nearly the perfect plants. They look good from the moment they emerge from the soil in spring and continue to look fresh and fabulous all growing season long. Many are attractive even in winter when their foliage dies and is left standing. They're also drought-tolerant and need very little if any care. They're favorites of butterflies and useful bees. The tall types are outstanding for cutting and drying. Does it get better than that? Only in the fact that there are many different types of this wonderful plant, from tall types that will top 2 feet to low-growing groundcovers that form mats. All thrive in full sun with good drainage. Ground cover types do a good job of suppressing weeds, but seldom tolerate foot traffic. Some of the smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.
Aster
Asters get their name from the Latin word for "star," and their flowers are indeed the superstars of the fall garden. Some types of this native plant can reach up to 6 feet with flowers in white and pinks but also, perhaps most strikingly, in rich purples and showy lavenders.Not all asters are fall bloomers. Extend the season by growing some of the summer bloomers, as well. Some are naturally compact; tall types that grow more than 2 feet tall benefit from staking or an early-season pinching or cutting back by about one-third in July or so to keep the plant more compact.
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