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Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

Family: Verbenaceae (ver-be-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Stachytarpheta (stay-kee-tar-FEE-tuh) (Info)
Species: jamaicensis (ja-may-KEN-sis) (Info)



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:



Dark Blue


Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bartow, Florida

Beverly Hills, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Dunedin, Florida

Edgewater, Florida

Englewood, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Labelle, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida (2 reports)

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida (2 reports)

Miramar Beach, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

North Port, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida (2 reports)

Plant City, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Valparaiso, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Woodstock, Georgia

Honolulu, Hawaii

Hebron, Kentucky

New Orleans, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Saint George, South Carolina

Cleveland, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fulton, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Liberty Hill, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas (2 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 30, 2013, amygirl from Miami, FL wrote:

It is easy to grow from cuttings. In south Florida, it will get fungus (black spots) if it is irrigated too much. After a few months, stem boring insects attack this species, eventually causing death. When holes are seen in the stems, just pull up the plant and allow seeds to sprout. It is a great butterfly plant!


On Oct 24, 2010, alexkash from Lake Worth, FL wrote:

I feed small amounts of cuttings from this plant to my rabbit.


On Aug 18, 2010, Ingi57 from Paramaribo
Suriname wrote:

This plant is also growing in Suriname (South America), mostly in the wild along country roads and creeks. The flowers are purple. The plant is used as alternative medicine for various diseases, like dermatitis (as a bath), anaemia (drinked as tea). The local name is "alata tere" - rat's tail. It is also called "isri wiri" - iron weed, because it is believed that drinking the tea will boost the iron value in your blood.


On May 30, 2010, gary1173 from Sugar Land, TX wrote:

I planted this plant in my garden this year, hoping it would attract butterflies. I was very pleased. A vigorous grower, with beautiful purple blooms, and it does indeed attract butterflies. A real gem, I am told it readily re-seeds itself. I am hoping it returns next year.

Update 12/09/10: My porterweed grew to about 8 feet tall, and 5 feet wide, with stems easily over an inch in diameter. More like a tree than a flower, but it is still going strong in December. I pruned it back to about 2 feet, I'm sure it will survive the winter and return next year. I may want to transplant it to the back of my border garden, since I planted it near the front, and it really overshadowed my roses and other perennials.


On Apr 2, 2009, FloridaFlwrGirl from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

Not sure why, but I am having no luck with this beautiful plant. It's struggling along in my garden. Maybe it's still just becoming acclimated, but it has been 2-3 months in the ground and is barely alive. Very sad.


On Oct 10, 2008, mpb from Dallas, TX wrote:

I have always treated this plant as an annual since it hasn't survived winters in North Texas. But it came through this past winter, bloomed all summer, and is attracting Monarchs on their fall journey to Mexico.


On Jul 2, 2008, BloomingFlower from West Palm Beach, FL wrote:

I would like to reiterate what htop said. The only native porterweed is Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, which has blue to purple flowers. There is NO pink or red flowered variety of this native. The species with pink ro read flowers is the exotic Stachytarpheta mutabilis, which is native to South America and NOT Florida!

I have been very please with this plant and it is thriving without any fussing over it. It is a great native plant for any Floridian garden. Thank you for tolerating my above ranting.


On Dec 20, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) can be found growing as a native plant in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and as a naturalized (intorduced) plant in Hawaii. Having had great difficulty identifying a porterweed because some photos on the internet have been misidentified as well as the descriptions of some types of porterweed can be incorrect, I am adding a portion of an article entitled "Plant Profile: The So-Called Porterweeds". This information is written by Roger Hammer appeared on the Florida Native Plant Society webpage (Copyright 2003-2007 --- Revised July 14, 2006) - Reprinted from The Tillandsia (Miami-Dade Chapter), Jul.-Aug. 1994.

"Plants offered in many Florida nurseries and garden shops are either mislabeled or so... read more


On Jul 17, 2007, knolan from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

It is truly a beautiful plant. I've had wonderful success propagating from cuttings.


On Apr 23, 2007, sanita from Brandon, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love this plant! I have several and have grown several more from seedlings. I live in Brandon Fl. Does anyone know where I can find this in colors other than the purple that I have?


On Sep 29, 2006, crowellli from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is my new "favorite" plant. I have it planted in a deep foundation bed. It is backed by loripetalum and mixed with pink pentas and it makes a loverly bed. It has bloomed for months with no problems.


On Sep 27, 2005, rwsherlock from North Port, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Great plant to have in your butterfly garden. The red variety will attract the most butterflies and moths. I have seen skippers, viceroys, Monarchs, Queens and many others attracted to the red porterweed while passing by other known butterfly flowers..


On Aug 2, 2004, ReggieattheGulf from Englewood, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Porterweed grows just like a weed but it a wild flower in Florida. I have 28 plants in a bed which is ten feet in diameter. This mass looks powerful and I have many wild visitors. The Gulf Fertlllary and Long Tailed Skipper are constantly supping nectar. Also bees and flies. I cut this to the ground in January each year for energy and new growth.


On Mar 18, 2003, karbbear wrote:

If you are interested in a larger version of this plant, check out Stachytarpheta frantzii. It has purple flowers, is very drought resistant and is also attractive to butterflies and bees.


On Feb 21, 2003, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

It grows as a weed too here in India mostly on roadsides and also in the western ghats. It can reseed itself. It is a very pretty blue, but not striking due to its smallness.


On Aug 31, 2002, ADKSpirit from Lake Placid, NY (Zone 4a) wrote:

The Porter Weed is pretty much a "weed" here in Florida, but it is sold in nurseries as an ornamental shrub for butterfly gardens. It has small, deep blue flowers that attract bumblebees and butterflies. (There is a pink variety too.) They are grown in parks and naturalized areas, and for the homeowner's garden they do well as back-of-the-border shrubs. They self seed at will. I'll find little seedlings growing 100 - 200 feet away from the parent plant. These seedlings can be dug up and planted elsewhere.


On Aug 4, 2002, bleu wrote:

The difference between Stachytarpheta cayenensis and S. jamaicensis are size and the shape of the leaves.

S. jamaicensis: Floral bracts ovate-lanceolate, scariously margined mostly above the middle; leaf teeth obtuse.

S. urticifolia: Floral bracts lanceolate-subulate, scariously margined below the middle; leaf teeth acute.

Also, the flowers of S. jamaicensis seem to be of a more violet color rather than blue.

Both are very desirable in a butterfly garden. This variety will thrive in more shade than the S. jamaicensis variety.


On May 14, 2002, seanpmi from Hollywood, FL wrote:

When the flowers fall from the plant to the soil, there is a good probability that other plants will grow. When the plant is about an inch tall or more, you can carefully dig up the plant with its entire root structure and can transplant it. Have even tranplanted a plant over two feet tall. It died, but upon leaving it and continually watering it daily over a period of two months it has now resumed producing leaves and flowers.


On Dec 20, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A Florida native, Porterweed is a low, sprawling shrub with a subtle beauty. It's a fairly long-lived, semi-woody perennial that should live at least four years. It reseeds after it becomes established, but is not a pest. Flowers open in the morning, and close in the late afternoon. They bloom year round. Porterweed grows to be 3-4' and flowers are purple, salmon pink or red. A must for your butterfly garden as this plant is usually alive with bees and all types of butterflies.