Vernonia baldwinii
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Vernonia baldwinii Western Ironweed

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A member of the Sunflower family (Asteraceae), Western Ironweed, also called Baldwin’s Ironweed, has showy bright magenta flowers that bloom in late summer to early fall. It is a great way to attract pollinators because it serves as a late-season nectar source. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation recognizes this species as having special value because of the large amount of native bees that forage on its flowers. The caterpillars of some moths feed on Ironweed species, including Grammia parthenice (Parthenice Tiger Moth), Perigea xanthioides (Red Groundling), and Papaipema cerussata (Ironweed Borer Moth). Like milkweeds (Asclepia spp.) ironweeds (Veronica spp.) are bitter to the taste, so herbivorous animals like deer and cattle will avoid consuming it. 
This species is found most often on the western side of the Mississippi River valley. Western Ironweed is not picky about soil types, thriving in wet, dry, and rocky conditions. This plant spreads vigorously by rhizomes, so is most appropriate in large prairies or meadows rather than use in home gardens. Because Western Ironweed spreads so aggressively, it is often classified as a common pasture weed. It will readily self-hybridize with other Vernonia spp. like Vernonia fasciculata (Common Ironweed),  Vernonia altissima (Tall Ironweed), Vernonia missurica (Missouri Ironweed), and Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) which can make plant ID difficult in the field.
Vernonia baldwinii - Western Ironweed

Map Key

This map shows the native and adventive range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

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Seed:

Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, download: Seed Starting Basics.

Bare Roots:

We dig bare-root plants from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants:

Trays (38 plants) leave our Midwest greenhouse based on species readiness (well-rooted for transit) and based on order date; shipping begins early-May and goes into June. Each of the 38 plant cells are 2” wide at top x 5” deep; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting instructions/care are included with each order.

Download: Tips on Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*please note, we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to *MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges
SEED$100.00 and under: $5.00
over $100.00: 5% of the total seed cost

*MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders shipping to Minnesota only. Shipping & Handling Charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS outside the contiguous US or to California due to regulations.

Delivery

We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee.

FOR MORE DETAILED SHIPPING INFORMATION, INCLUDING CANADA SHIPPING RATES (SEED ONLY), PLEASE SEE 'SHIPPING' AT THE FOOTER OF THIS WEBSITE.

iDetails

Seeds/Packet
200
Seeds/Ounce
24,000
Germination Code
C(60)
Sun Exposure
Full
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry
Height
3 feet
Bloom Time
July, August, September
Bloom Color
Purple
USDA Zones
3-9
Plant Spacing
2-3'
Catalog Number
VER11F