Why plant Audubon® Native Steeplebush?
Steeplebush gets its name from its spirelike pink flower panicles that rise to the heavens in mid- to late summer. Pollinators congregate on them—native bees, hoverflies, and beetles gratefully gather the pollen. The blooms also produce a small amount of nectar, which attracts butterflies. Steeplebush supports many native caterpillars with its foliage as well; in some areas, it is host to as many as one hundred different species, some of which feed exclusively on it or on very closely related plants. This bonanza of insects in turn attracts songbirds, which rely on the high-protein nourishment that caterpillars provide.
A cool climate–loving Accent, Steeplebush grows most abundantly in eastern Canada, the Upper Midwest, and New England, though its range also drifts south to the southeastern states. In Europe, it has been adopted as a garden plant, though it has since jumped the fence and become invasive in natural areas there. Steeplebush is found in swampy areas and along lakes and streams. It is a valuable part of our wetland ecosystems, providing erosion control along waterways, supplying nectar and pollen to pollinators, feeding caterpillars, and offering cover and nesting habitat to shorebirds.
How to use Audubon® Native Steeplebush in the landscape?
Plant some extra Steeplebush to use as cut flowers for the table. The plumy spikes can be used like Astilbes in fresh bouquets. In fall, the brown seedheads make for a nice textural addition to dried arrangements.
Hardiness Zone: 2-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Steeplebush
Steeplebush is native to wetland areas; likewise, in the landscape it grows most luxuriantly in constantly damp soil. However, this tough plant is surprisingly adaptable, and once established it can handle a fair amount of dryness. Plant it in full sun or light shade. This fast-growing Accent expands steadily via suckers; do not site it near small, delicate plants. Pruning can be accomplished at any time. If Steeplebush gets unruly or overgrown, you can simply cut it to the ground in early spring, and it will rejuvenate itself quickly.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.