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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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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.
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.