Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Ironweed
Vernonia gigantea

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vernonia (ver-NON-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: gigantea (jy-GAN-tee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Vernonia gigantea subsp. gigantea
Synonym:Vernonia altissima
Synonym:Vernonia altissima var. lilacina
Synonym:Vernonia altissima var. taeniotricha

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive luciee On Sep 1, 2012, luciee from Hanceville, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I rate this one as lovely. It grows wild here but I could not get the seeds I collected to germinate. So I found a source of seed on-line and bought them They came up and bloomed very nicely. Luciee {;^)

Positive Clary On Jul 30, 2012, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

In its second year in the perennial garden this plant has formed a bushel-sized clump and has reached 9' tall. It is tied to a fence post, otherwise I'm sure it would not stand erect on its own, especially after the weight of rain on open flowers. The flowers are very numerous and blue-purple in color. Bees like them and I have seen some butterflies on the flowers as well (although they prefer the neighboring buddleias). Supposedly, goldfinches like ironweed seeds, and I hope that is true!

Positive mslehv On Aug 29, 2009, mslehv from Columbus, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is truly a massive plant with almost flourescent purple blooms. Unfortunately, the bloom period is limited to about three weeks. The "Ironweed" may refer to its roots - even a six inch first year plant had deep, thick, iron-like roots. In full sun, first year growth was over six feet and second year reached over nine feet (see posted image).

Positive jostoich On Jul 7, 2007, jostoich from Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love it. I've had it for several years in my backyard in Sacramento, CA. It hasn't become invasive for me and hasn't reseeded or spread at all. I have it planted in partial shade near a wooden post that a bird feeder hangs from. The color is vivid and birds have been visiting my yard this year. Perhaps this plant is attracting them, but I do have many other plants that also attract birds.

Positive Breezymeadow On Sep 9, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This lovely wildflower is just coming into its own this time of year (September). Indigenous here - the Piedmont area of VA - it enjoys both the sun & semi-shade of damp to marshy meadow areas. It's extreme height along with the deep royal purple blossoms can be seen from quite a distance.

While it may be considered a noxious weed in some areas, that doesn't seem to be the case around here, where it is rarely found in any sort of massive abundance

Neutral JenniesWorld On Apr 5, 2004, JenniesWorld from Spencer, WV wrote:

This woody weed can get quite tall, often towering over the cattle in the pastures where it thrives. It seems to like moist areas, and even does well in semi-shade. The color intensity of the blooms are awesome, with rich shades of purples. Too bad it is a noxious weed! Some places you can be fined for letting it grow! Jennie


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

Auburn, Alabama
Hanceville, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Richmond, California
Sacramento, California
Wethersfield, Connecticut
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Lake Wales, Florida
Mayo, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Cornelia, Georgia
Demorest, Georgia
La Grange Park, Illinois
Minooka, Illinois
Barbourville, Kentucky
Melbourne, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Allen Park, Michigan
Midland, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Bowling Green, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Fort Jennings, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsburg, Pennsylvania
Clarksville, Tennessee
Maryville, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Princeton, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Kalama, Washington
Spencer, West Virginia

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