Blue Porterweed
(Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)

 

Plant Description:

Porterweed is an annual in North Florida, but may overwinter if protected from the cold.  Plants grow upright, but may begin to droop with age.  Small blue or pink flowers appear in numbers on long spikes at the end of the stems, and are very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.  Don’t let the name of this plant discourage you from planting it in your yard, as it makes a nice addition to a sunny area.

Mature Size:      4 – 8 feet; Plants grown as annuals may not reach mature size.

Growth Rate:    Fast

Plant Habit:      Upright, Round

Plant Spacing:  3 – 5 feet

 

Ornamental Characteristics & Uses:

Foliage Color:   Dark Green

Flower Color:    Blue or Pink

Bloom Time:    Summer – Fall           

Attracts Wildlife:   Butterflies and Hummingbirds

 Uses:  Landscapes, Large Container Gardens

 

Growing Requirements:

Cold Hardiness Zone(s):  9b – 11           

Exposure:  Full Sun to Partial Shade

Water Needs:    Low

Soil Tolerances:    High drought tolerance; tolerates sand or clay soils

Soil pH:    Acidic to Alkaline

Maintenance:    Easy/Low

 

General Care & Growing Tips:

Provide irrigation during establishment and in periods of extended drought during summer.  Two, light applications of slow-release fertilizer per year will help maintain foliage color and provide continuous growth and flowering.  Plants that survive the winter but die back to the ground should be cut back just before new spring growth resumes.  Plants that become leggy can be pruned back any time.  Deadheading of flowers is not necessary. 

 

Common Pests: 

No insects or diseases are of major concern.

 

References: 

Gilman, E. F. (1999). Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Blue Porterweed. University of Florida.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp559

Wichman, T., Knox, G., Gilman, E., Sandrock, D., Schutzman, B., Alvarez, E., Schoellhorn, R., and Larson, B. (2006). Florida-Friendly Plant List.  Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook.  University of Florida.

 


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