Tired of planting new non-native chrysanthemums every fall only to have them die in subsequent seasons?
Try this instead: fragrant white mistflower, Ageratina havanensis, which blooms in the fall with long-lasting, fuzzy white flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators.
Fragrant white mistflower thrives in full sun and partial shade, although it blooms more profusely with more sun.
It is well adapted to dry, well-drained conditions, but will also tolerate poor drainage.
It will grow in most soil types including alkaline soils. Like many Texas natives, fragrant white mistflower may need supplemental water during its first growing season.
After it is established, it should survive with existing rainfall.
Fragrant white mistflower, also known as shrubby boneset and thoroughwort, is native to the Edwards Plateau, Central, South and West Texas.
It is a medium-sized shrub usually growing about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide in North Texas, but is recorded as up to 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
Heavy shearing during the winter promotes a bushier shape and more prolific blooming, because flowers appear only on new wood.
It is considered deciduous but may be semi-evergreen during a mild winter. Its light green, triangular-shaped leaves are 1 to 3 inches long.
Because of its fall blooms, fragrant white mistflower is a delight in North Texas landscapes.
Fragrant white mistflower is lovely as an edge or understory shrub in a naturalized garden setting, or in a moe formal landscape.
Native companion species include fall aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, formerly Aster oblongifolius), autumn sage (Salvia greggii), Lindheimer’s muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri) and gayfeather (Liatris mucronata) all of which also have spectacular blooms in the autumn.
Look for the NICE! (Natives Instead of Common Exotics!) Plant of the Season signs and information sheets on your next visit to a participating North Texas nursery.
Participating nurseries include Four Seasons Nursery, Meador Nursery and Painted Flower Farm, all in Denton; Shades of Green Nursery in Frisco, and Schmitz Garden Center in Flower Mound.
Thank you for using native plants in your landscapes.
BECCA DICKSTEIN, a member of the Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas, is on the University of North Texas biological sciences faculty.