Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in the Silphiums Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Cup Plant
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Give a thumbs up Ragged Cup

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 36 - 120 inches
Plant Spread: 24 - 48 inches
Leaves: Other: form a cup
Fruit: Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
2"-3"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Water gardens
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: 3 months at 40 degrees
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Not suitable for containers

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The Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP MembersThe Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP Members
By dave on March 15, 2014

Here's a report of the most popular water garden plants from our database!

(Full article14 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: Woodbridge , VaDate: 2020-08-15
By krobra
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Location: Woodbridge , VaDate: 2018-08-04
By krobra
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Location: Country Woodland MeadowDate: August 19, 2014Masses Of Bright Yellow Blooms
By TBGDN
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Location: Winston Salem, NCDate: Jul 14, 2010 5:35 PMA butterfly magnet
By sandnsea2
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Location: Indiana  Zone 5Date: 2011-07-10growing in the wild in shade
By gardengus
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By sandnsea2
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2013-07-14
By chelle
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Location: Along Isolated Roadside Date: August 19, 2014#Pollination #Butterflies
By TBGDN
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Location: Indiana  Zone 5Date: 2011-07-10
By gardengus
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Location: My Property Sunset Zone 23 Sub-Tropical Southern CaliforniaDate: 2012-05-02
By wcgypsy
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2013-07-21
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2013-07-21
By chelle
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Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
By vic
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Location: Ed Burton, NE WisconsinDate: 2005-07-25
By EdBurton
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
By Joy
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Location: Neenah, Wisconsin (Wild Ones Headquarters)Date: 2013-08-16in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Neenah, Wisconsin (Wild Ones Headquarters)Date: 2013-08-16in bloom behind building
By ILPARW
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Location: Columbus, Ohio USA, Zone 6bDate: 2018-07-02
By cwhitt
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Location: Berwyn, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-07-07flowers and foliage
By ILPARW
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Location: Chadds Ford, PA at Brandywine Art MuseumDate: 2018-08-10group in bloom at parking lot
By ILPARW
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Date: 2011-06-28Courtesy Outsidepride
By vic
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
By Joy
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By winn
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By winn
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By winn
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Location: Columbus, Ohio USA, Zone 6bDate: 2018-07-02
By cwhitt
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-07-07a group in part shade
By ILPARW
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2013-08-12
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2013-07-14
By chelle
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Location: the Lurie Garden in Chicago, IllinoisDate: 2010-08-16a mass of plants in bloom
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by virginiarose (Virginia - Zone 8a) on Oct 5, 2011 6:47 PM

This plant is a lot better than a Sunflower because It doesn't need to be watered every day. I hardly ever water mine. This plant has seeds, which attract birds; nectar, pollen and water, which attract a lot of insects and butterflies; and the insects attract more birds!

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Posted by sandnsea2 (Cape Cod, MA, USA - Zone 7a) on Oct 2, 2011 8:06 AM

This plant has been the best butterfly attractant in my garden. Sometimes I have observed over 20 butterflies on the plant at once! Amazed me, as I did not grow it for this reason and did not remember reading about that attribute. It spreads, so give it room. A big boy. Zone 7A

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Posted by wcgypsy (Northern California) on Oct 3, 2011 8:31 AM

This plant is listed by Organic Gardening Magazine as one of the top ten 'Beneficial Border' plants. The joining of the opposing leaves at the stem form a 'cup', holding water from rain or dew, providing water for drinking for various insects and birds.
Prairie Nursery says that it is the single best species for attracting birds...providing food, water and cover.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 19, 2011 1:33 AM

A relatively common wildflower in the Heartland, found along stream borders, floodplains, low thickets, and RR right of ways.
Used as a smoke treatment (breathe in) for head colds, rheumatism, & nerve pains by Omaha and Ponca tribes. The resinous sap of the stem is chewed to prevent the upchuck.
The straight, square stem has earned designation 'Carpenter Weed'. A large and beneficial plant

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Posted by Catmint20906 (Maryland - Zone 7a) on Aug 27, 2014 9:56 AM

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) produces yellow, sunflower-like blossoms in late summer to early fall. A native to central and eastern North America, it has high wildlife value. It is a nectar source for butterflies and has special value to native, bumble, & honey bees. It also provides nesting materials and structure for native bees, particularly attracting greensweat, longhorned, bumble, mining, and leafcutter bees. Cup Plant also supports conservation biological control by attracting beneficial insects to the garden, such as ladybugs and lacewings. Its large, cup-like leaves provide birds and insects with drinking water, and finches and sparrows enjoy the seeds. In addition, it has high value for farm animals due to high protein content and plant longevity. Cup Plant spreads by rhizomes to form colonies in the wild.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 17, 2018 9:07 PM

The prairie Cup-Plant gets its name from little "cups" formed by the leaves clasping at the stems that catch some water. Insects and birds take drinks from these "cups." It is a great pollinator plant for butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds. Goldfinches love the seeds. Native plant nurseries sell this species for prairie restorations and naturalistic, native plant landscapes. It grows native from South Dakota and through much of southern Ontario and then southward into the deep South. I saw one large, innovative landscape company around Philadelphia use a few Cup-Plants in their landscapes as something one does not often see at all. This plant does not look good as just a single specimen and needs staking that way, and should be used in groups. Like other rosinweeds (Silphium), it forms a deep taproot.

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Plant Events from our members
Catmint20906 On August 11, 2015 Bloomed
Catmint20906 On November 11, 2014 Seeds sown
MrsBinWY On May 12, 2019 Seeds germinated
1
MrsBinWY On December 29, 2018 Seeds sown
WS 18 (last) seeds from ishareflowers (Prairie Moon)in milk jug
MrsBinWY On December 24, 2018 Seeds sown
C(60) per Prairie Moon. ~34 (all) not-seeds in milk jug. On second thought, I'll sow something else on top of these.
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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Sempervivum Chat & Photos 2020 by valleylynn Oct 21, 2020 2:34 AM 2,213
What Else Do We Grow 2020 by dyzzypyxxy Oct 17, 2020 8:08 AM 984
tall weed id please by Ursula Jul 14, 2017 12:53 PM 2
What's Blooming 2017 - Photos and Chat. by NJBob Jan 1, 2018 8:14 PM 1,563
Sunflower species? by winn Aug 15, 2016 11:38 AM 2
Need suggestions on wildflowers that reseed like crazy! by Natalie Jul 17, 2013 10:21 PM 35
I need some help with Cup Plant leaf anomalies, please. by chelle May 8, 2013 5:11 AM 7
Show Us Your Cottage Garden & Chat by sandnsea2 Sep 28, 2018 1:44 PM 1,811
Are you sowing any new wildflowers this year? by SongofJoy Feb 17, 2013 1:41 PM 8
Top 10 Full Sun Plants Right Now by clintbrown Aug 14, 2012 4:04 AM 29

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