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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Flower Friday: Add a little luster to your landscape with Pityopsis

Photo by Eleanor Dietrich
Narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia)
Also known as silver-leaved aster, grass-leaved goldenaster, and silky golden-aster, narrowleaf silkgrass is a robust perennial wildflower. Its compound blooms consist of brilliant yellow ray and disc flowers. Leaves are long, thin and appressed with soft, silvery hairs. Its unique foliage can be both silky and metallic in appearance. When not in bloom, this plant remains attractive and often appears grasslike.

Narrowleaf silkgrass flowers in late summer through early winter. It occurs naturally in sandhill, flatwoods and scrub habitats throughout the state.

Family: Asteraceae (Aster family)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8-11)
Soil: Well-drained, sandy soil
Exposure: Full sun to moderate shade
Growth habit: 1-3+ feet tall
Garden tips: Narrowleaf silkgrass blooms later than many Florida native wildflowers. It is easy to establish and maintain in a garden setting. 

If grouped with other plants, it will typically contain itself; however, if planted alone in an open setting, an individual plant may slowly sucker and fill in the space. That said, narrowleaf silkgrass can be quite attractive en masse! 
Although it does not readily reseed itself, fresh seeds will germinate easily. Plants should be cut back after they have bloomed.

Learn more about Pityopsis and other easy-to-grow wildflowers in "10 Easy Wildflowers: Your Guide for Florida Native Wildflowers for Landscapes," a special insert in the Fall 2014 "Guide for Real Florida Gardeners," published by the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.
Pityopsis graminifolia in landscape
Photo by Sarah Kiefer

Narrowleaf silkgrass seeds are available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery in your area.

To see where narrowleaf silkgrass  occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=524.

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