November 1, 2011

Wild Quinine, A Native Plant

I'm wild about Wild Quinine (parthenium integrifolium) after seeing mass plantings at The Battery Gardens in New York in June 2011. In fact, I was so mesmerized by the tiny white pearl blooms that I failed to take one photo, but found a few on the gardens website!

I returned to do a bit of research and decided that this is a native wildflower to try in my meadow garden for 2012. Quinine is a perennial that blooms in summer. Seed heads can remain over the winter.

zones:  3a-8b
height: 36-38"
light:    low to full sun
soil:      medium

Finding the plants is not impossible, but I decided to try seeds for next year. According to the instructions on my seed packet, it is best to plant quinine in the fall or cold stratify for two to three months. 

Fall sowing has always given me good results as our weather can often turn too hot, too soon in the spring. I'm not one to pamper pots, so I prefer to direct sow into the ground. 

With the moisture from autumn rains and daytime temperatures forecast for 60-70° F for the next two weeks, I'm ready to sow!  I have cleared a section of the garden for a mass planting of the quinine. 

I will add a mix of organic soil, compost and conditioner to the area; rake it smooth; sow the seeds just below the soil line; walk across the area; water with a gentle spray to keep the soil moist.

The test in my garden will be to see whether or not quinine is deer and rabbit resistant and can tolerate the droughts here in zone 7b. I'm optimistic!

Quinine is an attractor for pollinators and food for chickadees, so I'm excited about the birds, bees and blooms for next year.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
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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