Let me confess first that I should have known better. In fact, I DID know better, yet I did it anyway. I planted something in a spot I knew was just not suitable, a spot that was already getting a tad overcrowded, didn’t have quite the right requirements, a spot that meant something, sooner rather than later, would need to be moved.
The victims are two pots of Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant) I started from seed the winter of 2016. I was excited to see the seeds offered at Trenton’s Seedy Saturday that year – I remembered studying this plant at school and seeing pictures of HUGE clumps growing in a moist meadow near Ottawa. Called a Cup Plant because the leaves grow together at the stem to create a cup that catches water, it’s in the Aster family, and the same genus as the Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) – another favourite.
Two leaves joining together at the stalk to form a cup
Many bee and butterfly species are attracted to the small sunflower-like yellow flowers and small birds gobble up its seeds in later summer into the fall.
But did ya see the word ‘HUGE’ in the previous paragraph? And the words ‘moist meadow’? Four to 10 feet tall!! Clumps six feet across!! What was I thinking???
After starting them indoors in four inch peat pots then transferring them to one gallon plastic pots, I planted them in the Island Bed – about two feet from a prized Paeonia tenuifolia (Fernleaf Peony – given to me by a friend many years ago as a root division with a single eye) and three feet from a joyful Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple – which is itself slated to eventually be VERY tall and wide!). I knew they had to be at the back of something and I didn’t want them to be all by themselves in the middle of the yard, not even the front field where it gets very wet (ie floods) in the spring – something the plant actually appreciates.
In semi-desperation I planted them where I was able, thinking I’d have a few years before they (or their neighbours) would need to be moved. Alas, this year, their first full year in the ground, the clumps are already about seven feet high — that’s with flowers yet to spring forth from the top!
Lesson Learned (yet again…): think of the mature size of a plant before planting!
The poor Fernleaf Peony is just to the bottom left of the Cup Plant