Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm) 36-48 in. (90-120 cm) 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
Spacing: 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F) USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F) USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F) USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Color: Pink Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Bloom Time: Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall
Other details: May be a noxious weed or invasive Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Soil pH requirements: 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline) 7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
Propagation Methods: By dividing the rootball By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets) From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse From seed; stratify if sowing indoors From seed; sow indoors before last frost From seed; direct sow after last frost From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
People shouldn't jump to conclusions about plants that they see and think that they have identified properly. There's a native species of Loosestrife (Winged Loosestrife, Lythrum alatum), which is endangered. It looks pretty much exactly like the invasive Purple Loosestrife, but its stems are "winged" (like the plant in the photo at http://www.aphotoflora.com/images/hypericaceae/hypericum_und...). So, if you run out and start ripping up "Purple Loosestrife" in the wild, keep in mind that you may be ripping out its native, endangered cousin. And if you see "Purple Loosestrife" in someone's garden, don't be too quick to judge. In my front yard, prominently displayed, I have Winged Loosestrife that I grew from seed purchased from a reputable mail-order nursery that specializes in natives. I hope that people aren't prejudging me as a clueless, invasive-enabling, ecosystem-threatening idiot who needs to be lectured about my ecological responsibilities. My garden includes some exotic invasives that I have chosen to grow anyway (including Dame's Rocket and Butterfly Bush), but Purple Loosestrife isn't one of them.
On Jul 13, 2011, MarilynJL from Champaign, IL wrote:
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is listed as a noxious weed in nearly every state in the U.S, and is therefore illegal to sell, buy, trade or transport. It infests waterways across the entire continental U.S. (with the exception of Florida below the panhandle) and Canada below the Arctic Circle. Lythrum salicaria outcompetes native native plants. It degrades natural habitat and changes composition and flow of waterways. One plant is capable of annually producing millions of viable seeds. It also
reproduces from rootstock, one rootstock being capable of producing 30 to 50 new plants.
The reason it is not a problem in Europe is that it evolved with its natural restraints -- insects & birds that will feed on it and other plants native to Europe that can compete with it and therefore, keep it under control.
It has already spread into far too many natural spaces (see above) for it to be controlled in North America by cutting spent flower heads. It got to those natural areas/wetland areas by escaping the gardens of well-meaning gardeners. The plant does not sustain any of our native songbirds or insects (think butterflies). It eliminates those plants which do sustain them.
Lythrum virgatum is just as bad though it is not on the noxious weed list.
On Mar 14, 2011, WhiteflowerEU from St.Gallen Switzerland wrote:
I'm really shocked about the number of negative comments to this plant - here in Europe, as well as in other parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Australia, etc.), it is a native plant, and hybrids/ sorts are not invasive at all. And it has not only decorative but also medicinal and technical uses.
If you do not want it to spread - just cut off the spent flower heads timely, what's the problem? Then no wind or bird, or whatever, will carry it away. If you cannot be responsible enough - then yes, better not to plant it in your garden.
The problem is not with the plant itself but with the human attitude, IMHO.
The best and most reasonable comment is that one of gregr18. Don't like hysterias of any kind.
On Jul 18, 2009, 4evrMoi from Lancaster, OH wrote:
I agree with gregr18 who posted in October '05.
I have this perennial and know others in this area (Lancaster, OH) who also have it, and not one of us have experienced its so-called, "invasive" out-of-control nature. Apparently from what I'm reading here, those who have "problems" with it are in "wetland" areas.
Its beauty and benefits for bees and Hummers far outweigh the negative qualities it supposedly posesses.
Q: IF it's "banned" in so many states, then "why" do greenhouses and/or nurseries sell it ?
On Jul 13, 2009, sdlugo from Downers Grove, IL wrote:
I find it difficult to swallow what I am reading on this site. The plant kills off native plants, which in turn kills off native animals including fish, turtles, and frogs. The seeds spread easily over far distances, so even if you think there's nothing around it can affect, there most certainly is.
Whether or not you think this is ok, the government does not. Therefore you are spending your tax money and mine getting rid of this plant in the wild.
So even if you are not interested in conservation and being a good steward to the environment then know that it is affecting you in the pocketbook. There are too many good, native options that are beautiful and beneficial to even consider something as destructive as Purple Loosestrife. Please do not plant it and do not think of it in a positive light. You cannot escape that this is a destructive plant.
On Nov 3, 2007, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:
I saw this plant in a book and thought it was very pretty, then I looked on the MN DNR and found this...
"Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, L. virgatum and any combination thereof) is listed as a noxious weed and a prohibited exotic species in Minnesota. It is illegal to possess, plant, transport, or sell purple loosestrife in Minnesota. "
So, as addicted as I am to plants and collecting them...this is one I will have to pass on.
On Aug 26, 2007, phantomasc from Georgetown, MA wrote:
Based upon observation over the years, this plant does NOT eradicate cat tails or other wetland plants. It attracts both honey bees and bumble bees. It is gorgeous where plant heavily populates. Set aside the invasive hysteria this plant generates, and enjoy it along with the bees.
Survives winter road salt to return each year in my yard by the roadway.
On Aug 5, 2007, fishlore from Wolfeboro, NH wrote:
This beauty has spread up into New Hampshire from Massachusetts, where it entered in wool imported from Britain. It is so beautiful that I can't resist its evil charm. Mixed with tiger lillies it is spectacular and hasn't crowded mine out at all.
On Jul 23, 2007, eden100 from Edinburg, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:
I bought one from Lowe's last year and was worried about its reputation of being extremely invasive, however it turned out to be one of my favorite perennials. I bought another purple one this year and two golden alexander loosestrife. I see this plant all over town and it is popular in commercial landscape. It doesn't seem to spread at all. I find amenomes far more invasive!
On Apr 1, 2007, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:
This plant is listed on the North Dakota invasive/troublesome list and this information is being distributed in a guide developed by the ND Weed Control Association and other agencies.
Perennial, 3 to 8 feet tall
Flower clusters rose-purple on elongated spikes
Flowers 4 to 6 petals
Stems 5 to 6 sided, emerge from taproot
More mature (older) plants have a large woody crowned taproot with many stems
Many small seeds in brown capsules
Blooms from July through August
Leaves opposite and/or whorled on sttem
Spreads by roots, seeds, and stem fragments
Widespread invasive found in gardens and escaped into moist-marshy areas. Forms dense monotypic stands degrading natural wetland functions
A popular ornamental sold in nurseries for over 40 years in North America
Prolific seed producer, seed viable for several years
On Sep 7, 2006, NJChickadee from Egg Harbor Township, NJ wrote:
The problem with this beautiful plant is that it is very invasive, crowding out native plants. Even supposedly sterile varieties can become fertile and millions of dollars are spent eradicating Loosestrife from natural preserves. Anise Hysop is a nice alternative.
It is INVASIVE!!!! That is all that has to be said. I work with Purple Loosestrife on a daily basis, because it is my job to get rid of it in the wild. By law it is illegal to grow it in the State of Wisconsin!!
On Oct 1, 2005, gregr18 from Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:
A beautiful marginal plant that has unjustifiably become a favorite scapegoat of the so-called "bioinvasionists".
This plant doesn't destroy ecologies, it changes them. Despite the protestations of a vocal minority, ecologies are not fixed entities. Changes in ecologies, whether facilitated by humans or not, are inevitable. Ice Age(s), anyone? With that in mind, this plant has become integrated into many, usually heavily disturbed, biota, does not form monocultures, and does not create "ecological deserts". Its conspicuous blooms, instead of being appreciated, have become a signal of an ecological disaster that simply does not exist.
Purple Loosestife is highly opportunistic, and mainly flourishes in areas in which human activity has created a niche for it. The problem is not the plant, but the activities that have led to the plants' growth. A simple review of studies from the 1950s and 1960s (one study predicted that it would ruin the nesting sites of Canada Geese) will show that not one of the ecological distasters predicted due to this plant's expansion have come true, that its main sin is that it grows in areas that have been disturbed for economic reasons, and that it interferes with those economic aims.
The sad thing is that this beautiful plant is maligned because it is supposedly a "non-native invasive" in the US. The term is non-scientific and arbitrary, the product of a 1950s ideology that essentialy implies that the "native" ecology of North America was fixed at the time of the earliest European settlement. Some more sophisticated ideologues will point to geological sampling to extend the window a little further back, but the point is irrelevent since geological changes over the millenia have shifted the environment, and hence the plants that will grow in the environment, radically, even as recent as 11,000 years ago. While it is likely that the plant came in with the ballast of a transoceanic liner early in the 19th century, or was brought over as an ornamental, it can't possibly be determined for sure. If the plant had been dispersed by a bird or other "natural" means in 1437 or 1557, it would simply be considered "invasive", another meaningless term that implies that all plants that spread quickly are ecologically dangerous. Since that is likely not the case, many states waste millions of dollars trying to eradicate purple loosestrife, destroying many "native" flora and fauna in the process. If the desire strikes you, pull it up; until ecological conditions change, this plant will keep taking advantage of opportunities to spread. In the meantime, enjoy its beautiful purple blooms, and don't worry about the collapse of any ecologies.
lmelling - This plant is not native to North America and is not a Native North American Wildflower. Please do not spread mis-information about a very invasive weed that is destroying habitat for native wetland plants and the animals that rely on them. I know when you see a pretty flower such as this growing wild it is hard to imagine how it can be a bad thing but it is. It will take away valuable land space for native wetland plants and thus the food sources for many wetland animals especially ducks who can not digest Loosestrife and are loosing their native food sources to it. This plant was mistakenly brought over in the 1800's from Eurasia and has been spreading ever since. Please do not grow this plant as you will surely be causing ecological problems that you may not see but are deffinetly occuring.
kc8lcw - Just because it hasnt invaded your yard doesnt mean you havent spread it. Loosestrife can spread itself a few miles quite easily with a gust of wind and you may have caused a problem for a neighbour miles away or for a park miles away or heaven forbid a lake miles away.
Hideously invasive and so are the cultivars which are being released in record numbers. If I could be afforded the luxury of having just five species eradicated from the continent of North America, this would be one of them.
Hybrids, cultivars, and seeds are available on the Internet. Please do not purchase this plant or any of its hybrids or cultivars. Please do not share seeds of this plant or any of its hybrids or cultivars. Please do not share the plants themselves. Please try your best to control this beast that escaped cultivation and is destroying one ecosystem after the next.
eiting to add-
Purple Loosestrife is at home in both freshwater as well as brackish environments. This plant reproduces both vegetatively and sexually. At maturity, one single plant is estimated to produce 2.7 million seeds (Thompson et al. 1987). Just 3 weeks after flowering, the seed is viable. Seed is dispersed by wind, water, animals, and humans. Please, if you have any of these plants, do not let them go to seed. Bag the top of the plant so as to reduce seed dispersal, cut it down, and dispose of it in your garbage. If you are interested in eradicating this species, information on how to do so is readily available on the Internet or please post a request for same in Garden Foes here at Dave's Garden.
On Jul 12, 2005, kc8lcw from Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
This plant may be classified as a prohibited noxious weed in Ohio, but I have had it growing in my yard for 4 years now and it has not invaded the rest of my garden. It is planted in a bed behind my little 90 gal preform pond and has behaved itself quite well. The area where it is planted stays mainly damp due to poor drainage, and I have not had a problem with it so far.
On Jul 5, 2005, designart from Schwenksville, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
Thank you everyone for such great information. I also believed that the sterile cultivars may be acceptable to use, but after reading your comments, I will certainlly not be using any of the cultivars!!!
On Dec 23, 2004, nutrility21 from San Antonio, TX wrote:
> Medicinal uses: Treated diarrhoea, constipation, dysentry,
vaginal discharge, fever, lung and liver complaints, infant
cholera, wounds, sores, eye and throat infections, glandular
diseases. Dye: Unmordented yarn, flower tops with iron added made a deep black. Other uses: Tannin rich stems used intanning leather.
> ( I found this information on a site about old norse, it
must have been a plant native to scandinavia. Not positive
how to use for treatment, common sence says small amounts
inested fresh or brewed for internal problems,
compress for external problems.)
On Nov 13, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
The wild form of this used to grow in ditches and moist fields here in the fingerlakes region of central NY state. However, over the past 5 years, the state has taken serious measures to eradicate it due to it's invasive habit - and unfortuanately (in our estimation) have been more than successful.
Members of our dried flower booth used to cut and dry this native wildflower for use in arrangements and dried bouquets, and it was very beautiful in such. However, with the eradication nearly complete it is much harder to find this beautiful plant and those that you do no longer dry as well due probably to the methods of eradication (microbes or insects - I'm not sure which). Sad to see such a beautiful wildflower almost totally eliminated!
On Nov 12, 2004, cherishlife from Pocola, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
Some people are just not "getting it" as to HOW this plant in invasive. It is not necessarily invasive in your own yard, but the seeds are spread far and wide into the wetlands and that is the problem. The list of states that have this plant listed as a noxious weed is growing very quickly.
As of right now, the USDA has these states listed:
Alabama - Class B noxious weed
Arizona - Prohibited noxious weed
Arkansas - Noxious weed
California - B list (noxious weeds)
Colorado - Noxious weed
Florida - Prohibited aquatic plant, Class 1
Idaho - Noxious weed
Indiana - Permit required
Iowa - Secondary noxious weed
Michigan - Sale prohibited
Minnesota - Prohibited noxious weed
Missouri - Noxious weed
Montana - Category 2 noxious weed
Nebraska - Noxious weed
Nevada - Noxious weed
New Mexico - Class A noxious weed
North Carolina - Class B noxious weed
North Dakota - Noxious weed
Ohio - Prohibited noxious weed
Oregon - "B" designated weed & Quarantine
Pennsylvania - Noxious weed
South Carolina - Invasive aquatic plant; Plant pest
South Dakota - Noxious weed & Regulated non-native plant species
Tennessee - Plant pest
Texas - Noxious plant
Utah - Noxious weed
Vermont - Class B noxious weed
Virginia - Noxious weed
Washington - Class B noxious weed & Quarantine
Wisconsin - Nuisance weed
Wyoming - Noxious weed
On Jun 22, 2004, Rarri from Glen Head, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
Wow, everyone hates this plant.. not me.. IT GROWS in my yard I wish it would spread, but it doesn't.. It gets lots of sun, and not a tremendous amount of water .. It is very hardy and colorful and I am happy to see it grow..You guys can drop your overgrowth and my place anytime ha..
On Jan 8, 2004, dupperdog from Superior, WI wrote:
We have had this plant in the wild here for at least 30 years. I can remember looking over a large marsh at that time and seeing the whole thing purple with these flowers in August. It was actually quite beautiful if you were objective. Guess what? We still have wildlife and plenty of native plants in the area. In fact, if you go to the same marsh now, the occurence of purple loosestrife is a lot less than it was at that time. No one has done much releasing of the beetles which are supposed to destroy this plant yet. I tend to doubt reports of the dangers of this plant.
On Jan 8, 2004, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
Please be aware that the SEEDS of this plant can be carried far and wide by birds & wind currents; also, the non-native hybrids can REVERT via seed back to the parentage! I believe that Illinois has (or is in process of) banning the sale of ALL varieties of lythrum - hybrid or not! And yes, this plant is indeed crowding out native plants, clogging what used to be flowing waterways, etc. I could not EVER recommend a plant as invasive as this one is - it is on the National registry of invasives!
On Aug 12, 2003, davecwik from Smiths Creek, MI wrote:
i cannot stand this plant , purple loosestrife is a highly invasive weed that is destroying swampland in michigan becuse people bought it beleving it was "sterile" it turned out to only be sterile until 4 years old when the plant reached maturity and is now a huge problem.if you find it please destroy it.
On Jul 28, 2003, Gardener4Fun from Sweetwater, TX (Zone 7a) wrote:
According to Cornell University's Horticulture Studies Program (see invasiveplants.net), this weed has been deemed invasive and dangerous to ecology in at least 19 states. It is present in all U.S. states except Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Once established, it persists for decades, is difficult to control using conventional techniques (chemical, physical, and mechanical), and continues to spread into adjacent areas. Plants are long lived and mature plants may produce more than 2.5 million seeds annually, which remain viable for many years. Spread to new areas occurs exclusively by seed, which is transported mainly by water but also adheres to boots, waterfowl and other wetland fauna.
If you have this in your garden, please consider the information posted about this plant.
On Jun 13, 2003, RubyStar from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
Beautiful it may be, but this plant (and its cousin, L. virgatum) is deadly to North American wetlands. It is quite out of control, and is listed as a biological invasive in at least 30 U.S. States, banned for sale or growing in at least 14 U.S. States, and banned or regulated in areas of Canada as well. The self-sterile hybrids are not exempt from this status, as they pollinate wild-growing stands and thus contribute hugely to the problem.
Purple Loosestrife doesn't sweep through your garden, taking everything out along the way, it disperses by massive seeding into the wild, particularly into wetlands, and quickly establishes itself and takes over, becoming a monoculture. In addition, hundreds of species of wetland birds, fish, and mammals are seriously impacted by the loss of food, shelter, and breeding areas as PL chokes out their resources.
There is an enormous amount of effort made by organizations all over North America to control the rampant spread of this species. Eliminating the problem is not likely to happen, but groups ranging from grassroots to governmental are expending a great deal of effort, time, and money to educate the public about this plant in an effort to control further spread. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to this plant, where you may seek more information.
There are many beautiful alternatives to PL, such as Liatris spicata (gayfeather), Salvia, Veronica, Lupinus (lupines), Digitalis (foxgloves), or Penstemon (beardstongue).
On May 2, 2002, Lilith from Durham United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:
An elegant plant with tall spikes of purple flowers. Each plant has one of three sorts of flowers. The style is either shorter than, about equal to, or much longer than the sepals, and the stamens are equally different in length. This ensures that a flower receives pollen from a different plant.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Ward, Arkansas Woodland Park, Colorado Broad Brook, Connecticut Edinburg, Illinois Marquette Heights, Illinois Nichols, Iowa Barbourville, Kentucky Calvert City, Kentucky Belle Chasse, Louisiana Pikesville, Maryland Georgetown, Massachusetts Milton, Massachusetts Belleville, Michigan Erie, Michigan Grand Rapids, Michigan Saint Helen, Michigan St Paul, Minnesota Springfield, Missouri Cayuga Heights, New York Croton-on-hudson, New York Glen Head, New York Southold, New York Belfield, North Dakota Fargo, North Dakota Glouster, Ohio Lancaster, Ohio Twinsburg, Ohio Salem, Oregon Mercer, Pennsylvania Millersburg, Pennsylvania Schwenksville, Pennsylvania