This fast-growing perennial can reach a height of 2 to 8 feet and spread of 3 to 4 feet. It thrives in full sun and does well in partial shade. This plant prefers soil pH that is slightly acid to slightly alkaline, 6.0 to 7.2.
Porterweed will grow in any soil texture, from sand to clay to loam, and needs well- to medium-well-drained soil moisture. Varieties come in many sizes and flower colors: light purple/blue, dark purple/blue, red and pink. The flowers bloom on long spikes at the end of the stems.
The native porterweed is a low-growing groundcover with purple/blue flowers. This plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Although it blooms from summer to fall, many are still in bloom in our perennial garden at the Extension Service and in my home landscape. Porterweed dies back in the winter and returns in the spring in the same location and several others. This plant reproduces quickly, which means I have some to give away, so keep reading.
Porterweed is beautiful in mass plantings or in a container. Irrigation should occur during establishment and drought conditions.
For information about porterweed, please see the University of Florida publication from which this article is adapted, “Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Blue Porterweed” by Edward F. Gilman, at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp559.
The first three people who email me at barberL@hillsboroughcounty.org will receive a free porter weed from my landscape. You will be notified by email if you are a winner and you will need to pick up your plant at the Extension Service between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. Our office is in Seffner, so be sure you want to drive here to pick up your plant before you enter. If you have won other free plants/seeds, please let others win this time. Good luck!
The Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden is one of several demonstration gardens at the UF/IFAS Hillsborough County Extension Service, 5339 County Road 579, Seffner.