The Q&A Archives: Lythrum Virgatum Substitute

Question: Lythrum virgatum 'Morden's Gleam. I need a perennial that is simular to its looks and blooming time. I am going to be planting it near a side walk, so it needs to have attractive flowers, with nice foliage, fragrance would be a plus but not necessary. I am concerned about planting the Lythrum virgatum because of its agressiveness to spread and reseed. I don't want a plant to over power the rest of my garden. Your suggestions would be appreciated.

Answer: Purple loosestrife is illegal to sell or transport in much of North America because of its invasive nature. Lythrum salicaria is the culprit, but many states also ban Lythrum virgatum and hybrids. Some species which are similar in appearance to purple loosestrife but are not invasive to natural areas include the following: obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) produces flowers shaped like dragon heads and the seed are a source of food for songbirds. The pink flowers of spiked blazing star (Liatris spicata) and button blazing star (Liatris squarrosa) provide food for butterflies and hummingbirds, and the seeds are eaten by songbirds.

Given the reputation of loosestrife, I'm glad you asked about substitutes!

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