Iron Butterfly Ironweed (Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’)

Iron Butterfly Ironweed

A gorgeous tough-as-nails butterfly magnet, the native cultivar Iron Butterfly Ironweed (Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’) is just as hardy as its name! Bold, fluffy purple flowers rise tall on very tough stems and sturdy dark-green fine textured foliage.

The dense branching and slender foliage can be increased by pinching back these plants in the spring before they flower. These native butterfly magnets have vigorous, compact growth and loads of blooms! Rich in nectar and pollen for your local bees and butterflies plus many beneficial pollinators in the late summer-early fall.

Spreading and naturalizing throughout Prairies and Woodland settings throughout US zones 4-9. This perennial powerhouse grows 18-24 and wide each year and is quite a drought-tolerant, xeric plant.

How to Use Ironweed In The Landscape

Naturalizing readily throughout moist, rich soil, Ironweed loves Prairie and Wildflower native plantings. Hardy for Rock gardens to Rain gardens and tricky clay soil locations. Also great in Pollinator gardens and Perennial beds. Thriving in a wide range of conditions makes this the perfect plant for any sunny yet troublesome location! Performs beautifully in natural areas and bioswales.

These floriferous blooms are pollinator magnets and a host plant for many species of butterfly larvae! Fantastic for fresh or dried bouquets, so be sure to incorporate Ironweed into your Cut flower garden! Its height makes for the perfect Cottage as a back of the bed and border plant.

  • Fluffy Intense Purple Blooms
  • Dark Sturdy Stems & Upright Form
  • Slender Spear-Like Foliage
  • Easy Care & Low Maintenance
  • Hardy Native Wildflower
  • Butterfly Magnet & Host Plant

Tips For Care

These are fast-growing, easy-care natives that thrive in both sunny or part-sun locations and are highly adaptable to most well-drained soils, even clay! Ironweed is even drought-tolerant once established. These long-blooming perennials require very little upkeep, deadhead to remove seed heads or they will self-seed. Ironweed can be planted beneath Black Walnuts without being affected by juglone. Prune back clumps in the early spring.

  • Full Sun & Partial Shade
  • Highly Adaptable to Most Well-Drained Soil – Even Clay
  • Moderate to Low Moisture Needs Once Established
  • Deadhead After Bloom & Prune Back Early Spring
  • Deer, Rabbit & Juglone Resistant

For an incredibly tough native and highly beneficial to wildlife!

Iron Butterfly Ironweed (Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’) Details

Common name Iron Butterfly Ironweed
Botanical name Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'
Plant type Perennial
Hardiness zone 4-9
Growth rate Medium
Height 18 - 24 inches
Width 18 - 24 inches
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Low Once Established
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time Early Spring
Flower color Violet