A Splendid September Self-Seeder

Sep 3, 2018 | Gardens

As I walked through the gardens with my coffee this morning, what caught my eye were tall Gomphocarpus physocarpus plants in the cutting garden. These are some of my regular “party crashers,” self-seeding in the same area every year, and delighting me with sturdy growth, delicate flowers, and those outrageous seed pods. But there’s something else to be happy about if this plant likes your garden: monarch larvae love it.

Grow this plant from seed early in the spring, but put outside in the garden only once the weather is getting warm. Over the summer be alert for the monarch caterpillars…they can appear early on a small plant, or later in the fall once the plant is tall.

A monarch larva chows down on the hairy balls foliage. 

These seed pods are reason enough to grow this plant. Be sure to let some ripen in the garden so that they will self-seed for you too.


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