Queen of the Prairie: Wildflower Wednesday

– Posted in: Native/Invasive

Filipendual rubra Queen of the Prairie

Queen of the Prairie in the Secret Garden, early July

Queen of the Prairie was introduced to my garden. The Gentleman Farmer found it growing in a roadside ditch about a quarter of a mile from our house and brought it home for me. Shortly after that, the road crew mowed the roadside down. I had previously grown this plant in the front southwest bed and it had started to take over. After reading that it prefers moist soil, I moved it to a damp, meadowy part of the Secret Garden, where it has slowly grown despite competing with the likes of goldenrod and asters.
Queen of the Prairie in the Secret Garden

By the end of July, Queen of the Prairie is just about done blooming.

This is a native plant that thrives in cool summers; indeed, it is hardy to USDA Zone 3. According to William Cullina, “the plants die back somewhat after flowering,” so don’t think you’ve killed it if it looks bedraggled after blooming. The clump in the Secret Garden pictured above is past its peak, so take a look at Craig Cramer’s patch if you want to fall in love.

Queen of the Prairie provides pollen for bees, beetles, and flies, according to Plants For a Future.

Recently some road work has caused me to take a detour on my way to town, and gave me the opportunity to see several stands of Queen of the Prairie growing alongside the road. It seems to be native to my immediate area, which makes me feel that it was a good choice for the Secret Garden, where I try to plant local natives exclusively. While I have acid clay, the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program says it is native to fens, which are “calcium-rich peat-producing wetlands.” What this tells us is that Queen of the Prairie hasn’t read the reference books, so if you are in Zones 3-7 and have a sunny, moist area where it can send its rhizomes out without overwhelming other plants (or are willing to be vigilant), give it a try.

Posted for Wildflower Wednesday, created by Gail of Clay and Limestone, to share wildflowers/native plants no matter where you garden in the blogasphere. “It doesn’t matter if we sometimes show the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. It’s always the fourth Wednesday of the month!”

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Rare Cactus August 26, 2011, 8:16 pm

What a lovely plant… I wonder if it will grow well on the west coast

Donna August 3, 2011, 10:58 am

Queen of the Prairie is a wonderful wild garden plant. A job I am on is specing the plant and it is for a ‘highway’ planting, actually they are prepared native gardens. All natives are specified at per the green initiative.

Yael July 29, 2011, 5:36 pm

This Queen Of The Prairie is beautiful. I have not been familiar with it. I am over here in the Pacific Northwest so we may not have it here. It reminds me a little of our Douglas Spirea, whose bloom appears somewhat similar, but which is a woody shrub.


commonweeder July 29, 2011, 12:11 pm

I planted Queen of the Prairie last year and it doesn’t look as grand as most of the ones I’ve seen elsewhere. I’m hoping it will have settled in next year.

Kathy Purdy July 29, 2011, 2:45 pm

Mine took a while to settle in. Give it two years, I’d say. Then, watch out!

Rose July 28, 2011, 8:38 pm

I meant to add I’m glad I’m not the only one who digs up plants from roadside ditches. My neighbors think I’m a bit dotty:)

Kathy Purdy July 28, 2011, 9:56 pm

I won’t dig something if it seems to be the only one of its kind. I wasn’t too happy when the GF dug the plant, because it was the only one I had seen along our road. But when the whole area got mowed a few days later, I was glad he had brought it home.

Rose July 28, 2011, 8:37 pm

I planted a Queen of the Prairie earlier this spring, but it’s not doing so well. I thought it was because it had to compete with all the asters and goldenrod around it, but now I realize it may be because it’s been so dry here–and hot–the past month. I’ll have to see if a good soaking will revive it. I’d love to have these lovely blooms in my wild garden!

Randy J, Garden Arbors July 28, 2011, 2:48 pm

What a beautiful flower. It would make a great addition to any garden.

Linda July 28, 2011, 1:02 am

Such a beauty – she comes by her name honestly.

Gail July 27, 2011, 9:13 pm

Kathy, I would love to grow this beauty! But, I will have to enjoy it from afar since C and L is very dry these days! Thank you for the the Craig Cramer link~It was lovely, too. gail