This is Blue Mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum.
This is also a blue mistflower,
…except that it’s Gregg’s Mistflower, Conoclinium greggii. From the shared Latin name, Conoclinium, it’s obvious that these two lovelies are related.
Both Blue Mistflower and Gregg Mistflower are in the Asteraceae, or Aster, family of plants and both are native Texas groundcovers. Blooming in August until the first light freeze, these mistflowers are desirable pollinator plants, easy to grow, and downright pretty.
I planted the Blue Mistflower many years ago in a different spot from this,
…and loved it. About five years ago, as spring arrived, only about ten “sprigs” emerged from winter dormancy. I was in major garden redo mode, so I pulled those few surviving sprigs up and replanted them.
The leaves are dark green and slightly serrated, with fuzzy, rich blue-violet flowers atop the branches.
The color of the photos doesn’t translate well, but Blue Mistflower is quite striking in full bloom.
The Gregg’s Mistflower is a newer addition in my gardens, though it’s more commonly planted in Austin gardens than the Blue.
I’ve only grown the Gregg’s for about three years. It’s an excellent attractor of pollinators–bees, butterflies, and moths are constantly working these flowers.
The flowers are similar to the Blue, though a lighter blue with a hint of lavender,
…and the leaves bright green and deeply lobed. Another common name for Gregg’s is Palmleaf Mistflower, because of this lobed characteristic.
These two mistflower species are members of the autumn cast of garden performers here in Texas. They provide nectar for pollinators,
and visual pleasure for gardeners.
For whatever reason I never tried the Fall asters out in my garden spaces here. Seeing the butterfly action in your (great!) photos I can’t imagine why I haven’t, because they are both gorgeous in their own way and I especially love the leaf characteristics of Gregg’s – maybe even more than the blooms.
Then I looked it up (thanks for the links!) and now I remember. The deer love to nibble it as much as the butterflies love to visit for nectar, and I didn’t have spaces inside my fenced areas. Sorry Queen butterflies – Bambi is spoiling all the fun! At least temporarily. As I’m redoing back beds and replacing old ground covers put in by the original landscapers (fist to sky:Asian jasmine!) Gregg’s will be at the top of the list.
Yeah, I should have mentioned that salient fact. I’m rather spoiled where I am–no deer. You definitely should make room for one or both, if possible. I love the Blue–that color, oh it melts my heart. But, the Gregg’s is the better pollinator plant, or, at least, in my gardens it seems to attract more. Interestingly, I’ve had other little hover flies over the Blue–I’ve never been able to get a shot of them, as they move too fast. Also, my honeybees love both and they visit the Blue as much as the Gregg’s. Great plants, both!
Oh, Tina. Thank you for pointing out the differences. I think maybe I’ve been calling both Greeg’s Mistflower based on the flowers.
You’re more than welcome! I think there are lots of people who don’t even realize that there are two that are so similar. I grew the Blue long before I had the Gregg’s in my garden, so I was aware of the differences.
When it comes to native butterfly plants those are great choices and very easy to grow. I grow the Gregg’s mistflower and one we call Crucita or Chromolaena odorata which might not be hardy in Austin. The Gregg’s is covered with butterflies throughout the summer and visitors love seeing it. I have not had problems with the deer eating either plant.
It’s good to know that the deer don’t bother your mistflower. Mine doesn’t really get the sunlight it needs (that’s a common refrain from me…), so I don’t have blooms until fall, when it absolutely can’t help itself. But then? It has all sorts of sippers on it! I looked up your C. odorata–very pretty, but you’re right, we’re probably too far north. Drat!
I just added Conoclinium coelestinum to my garden this year. I tried to plant some from seed, and it didn’t emerge–probably because my garden is too shady. So, I bought some plants and received more from a friend. I’m hoping they’ll fill in nicely next year. C. coelestinum is hardy in zones 5 to 10, and it looks like C. greggii is hardy in zones 7 to 10. I love the foliage of the latter, but I’ll have to admire it from afar. Both plants are lovely, though. Thanks for this beautiful post!
Wow! I wouldn’t have thought its range so vast. I’m impressed and I hope it works for you–let us know. I’ve never had mine spread by seed, though it’s supposed to propagate easily that way. Mostly mine spread to the nearby vicinity and I have to pull it up, with roots, to keep it in check–both of the mistflowers do that. I also grow a White Mistflower, Ageratina havanensis, which has seeded out. It’s more of a woody shrub though.
They are lovely plants and I’m glad that I have all three of them in the garden.
I enjoyed this post. Tammy at Casa Mariposa blog sent me some seeds of Blue Mistflower and I do hope they will germinate. I have never seen them grown here. They are so pretty.
Oh, I hope so too! They are very pretty and here, a great pollinator plant. The migrating monarchs are enjoying both of mine! Do post if you have germination next year!