Monday, May 11, 2009

MEXICAN HATS Ratibida columnaris

I don't think many would consider putting this member of the aster family in their garden, despite the fact that it is a profuse bloomer even during brutally hot weather. These flowers are currently growing on my septic field and along the roadsides and in the fields of central Texas. They are incredibly easy to grow, from seed, from root cuttings or transplants. What I love about them is the variety of colors.

This one has a double layer of petals.

We have restricted their growth to the edges of the path where they have formed quite hedge.

Deer don't eat the leaves or flowers and they never seem to get diseases or be pestered by bugs. They thrive on neglect and they would make a great addition to any wildflower garden.

Native American Indians used to boil the leaves to make a tea which they used externally to treat the rash caused by poison ivy.

12 comments:

  1. I love Mexican hats along the roadside and after reading your post, I think I have the perfect spot for them here at home. When do you sow their seed?

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  2. They are not a native weed here and are considered appropriate for garden use in informal settings. Mine are reaching the spectacular point just now.

    I sowed mine in the fall.

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  3. Mary Beth and Nell Jean- Im glad you like these flowers too . They are a bit invasive so there shouldn't be a problem growing them from seed. Best time for seeding all natives is in the fall so that they stand the best chance of germination. Planted earlier in the year a lot will become the food of critters.

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  4. I have Mexican Hat in my vegetable garden border and I love it.

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  5. Well, I love them and have been admiring them for weeks along MoPac. Perhaps I'll add some in the front yard if I get a bed made out there next fall. How long do they bloom, Jenny?

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  6. As good and attractive with their feathery foliage as Cosmos.
    Not quite as sugary sweet in colour. Wonder if they sell the seed over here. I can do with something reliable for a change.
    On the whole compositae don't appeal, but this one is robust and not fiddly like many of the others.
    And insect-free? Say no more...

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  7. That double yellow used to be my favorite at our previous house, Jenny- anything the deer didn't eat was valuable.
    Wish I'd known about the poison ivy tea back then!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  8. Hmmm, my favorite. They are beautiful for months, even after they lose their skirts...which can happen quite quickly here in windy north Texas.

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  9. I love them too! I love your mass planting and didn't know the deer didn't like 'em...excellent! Thanks!

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  10. I've always love the orange/red Mexican hats. You have gorgeous photos of them here.
    Aiyana

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  11. The extra lot in my garden is a small man made prairie of Blue Gramma Grass and flowers that don't take much water, including the Mexican Hats, which I love. I've begun collecting native prairie plants.

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  12. Granny Fran- I would love to have a prairie out there but it seems to be a struggle with so many deer and turkeys and squirrels........

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