July 18, 2009

My Favorite Mistake: Hardy Ageratum

It all started with six tiny mail-order perennials. They were so small that I almost needed a magnifying glass to see them. I had read the warnings about these aggressive little plants and that it would be a mistake to turn them loose in my garden. Two years later, the hardy ageratum has spread to a swath that is probably fifty feet long!

And, I like it!

Eupatorium coelestinum 'Wayside' or hardy ageratum, is similar in appearance to the fluffy little puffs of annual ageratum. The blooms are a soft, light blue that won't upset garden color schemes.

Rated for full to part sun in zones 5-8, this ageratum tolerates clay soil, is deer resistant and can handle wet locations such as my rain garden. It is a good height at around 15 inches, making it a nice edger. The stems of ageratum can blacken if the soil dries too much, but it blooms over a very long time in the summer. It is easy to transplant at any time with sufficient watering to get it established. Ageratum is also easy to pull up if it expands into unwanted spaces.

If planting hardy ageratum was a mistake, it's my favorite one so far!

Photos and story by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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