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Lesson Plans

Plant Growing Information

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

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All of the following plants will grow in part shade in the St. Louis area. I garden in a humid continental climate which is either Zone 5 or 6 depending on which source you use.
Barren Strawberry Barren Strawberry
Waldsteinia fragarioides
This is a great choice for where it's difficult to get anything else to grow because of shady conditions. It's been naturalized in my Mom and Dad's yard since I was a kid. Not sure where they got it, but when I learned it was a native wildflower and not a weed I was excited and moved some to my garden. Flowers are yellow.
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Chocolate Mint Chocolate Mint
Mentha x piperita subsp. citrata 'Chocolate'
Very fast spreader so you have to keep it under control. Smells like peppermint-chocolate candy and tastes delicious. Gets purple flowers if it flowers, but mine never has. Sterile hybrid, will not reproduce from seed. Attracts butterflies.
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Cilantro Cilantro
Coriandrum sativum
Gets tiny white flowers. The dried seeds are the spice coriander. Self-sows very easily. Culinary herb. In my climate it grows fast and is short lived - 2 crops per season is normal. Swallowtail butterflies like to feed on the plant leaves. Cilantro does not like to be transplanted in the garden so I just let it reseed itself year after year. It seems to be one of those plants that does better with benign neglect rather than with being overly fussy with care.
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Feverfew Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium
Gets white flowers with yellow centers and has attractive ferny foliage. Very easy to grow in my climate and self-sows prolifically. They say it's short-lived but I've never noticed that because apparently I always get enough new plants to replace any that have died out and then some.
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Garlic Chives Garlic Chives
Allium tuberosum
White flowers, attracts butterflies and other beneficial insects such as bees, wasps, flies and beetles. Worth growing for the pretty flowers as well as for culinary use. A member of the onion family. All parts of the plants are edible, you can use the leaves as you do regular chives and the bulb as an onion or garlic subsitute. Spreads very easily and very hardy. Easy to grow from seed.
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Gold Moss Gold Moss / Graveyard Moss
Sedum sarmentosum (I think)
Very unpicky about conditions, and withstands dry areas well once it's established. Looks nice in containers too, it will drape over the sides of a pot nicely. Spreads well. My Grandma grew this in her yard, gave some to us when I was a kid, and it's been "naturalized" in my Mom and Dad's yard ever since. I got mine from them. We always called it "moss" but it's really a succulent. Gets yellow flowers.
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Korean Hyssop Korean Hyssop
Agastache rugosa
Gets big, lots of purple flowers, attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and hummingbird moths. Japanese beetles like it too, but I just pick them off and freeze them and after a few days they seem to get the idea there is a predator around and go somewhere else. A member of the mint family. The whole plant smells wonderful. I like to use it as a potpourri base because the flowers and leaves dry well and I'm able to grow it in huge quantities.
More information from Dave's Garden and Pag-Hat's Garden.

Lemon Balm and Lime Balm Lemon Balm and Lime Balm
Melissa officinalis
Lemon has small white flowers, Lime has yellow. Otherwise they look the same. Attracts beneficial insects. The name Melissa, the Greek word for bees, reflects the use of the herb as an attractant for bee swarms. If you raise bees, you might want to try growing it and rubbing it in your hives as the ancients used to do. In the mint family. Very fragrant. A culinary herb with mild medicinal properties.
More Information from Missouri Botanical Garden, Drug Digest and Pag-Hat's Garden.

Peppermint Peppermint
Mentha piperita
Easy to grow, spreads aggresively. Controlling can be enjoyable though - it smells wonderful! Flowers are purple, attracts beneficial insects.
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Perennial Ageratum Perennial Ageratum / Mist Flower
Conoclinium coelestinum
This is a perennial version (sort of) of the annual you see a lot called Floss Flower. Purple Flowers, loved by butterflies. A native wildflower.
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Rose of Sharon Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus
Parent plant gets both white and lavender colored flowers with dark pink centers. Long-blooming. In my experience one of the best plants to have if you like butterflies and hummingbirds. I've seen two species of finches eating the seeds. Almost indestructable. Produces many, many seedlings. The seedlings are fairly slow growing (at least in my part shade conditions) so not too hard to control but once the plant gets going it reaches full size in just a few years.
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