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
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
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.
No insects or diseases are of major concern.
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.
Photos by: Alicia Lamborn
- UF/IFAS Sites
- Demonstration Gardens of the University of Florida's Extension Service
- Ornamental Teaching Gardens: Design, Development and Use
- Types of Gardens
- Lawn and Garden Landscape Design
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program
- Florida Yards.org