About Mistflower: Though this “butterfly magnet” has become increasingly uncommon in the wild, it can still be found occasionally in moist areas such as swamps, woodland, or riverbanks. Plants in this family have been used for centuries for curing fevers and other sickness. The genus name Eupatorium comes from a connection to an ancient Greek king named Eupator, who was rumored to have found an herbal antidote to poison that may have included species in this genus.
Mistflower Germination: Direct sow in late fall, pressing the seeds into the surface of the soil since they need light to germinate. For spring planting, mix the seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 60 days before direct sowing. To start indoors, scatter the seed on the surface of the soil in a flat; compress the soil slightly and keep it lightly moist until germination, which is naturally slow but should take place within 2-3 months. Keep the soil consistently moist, and transplant seedlings as soon as they reach a height of several inches.
Growing Mistflower Seeds: Keep seedlings watered, since they need even moisture in their first year of development; they may not bloom until their second year of growth. Mature plants can tolerate drought, though they reach their full potential in moist, well-drained soil. This plant will spread by rhizomes and self-seeding, and may become rather invasive. Cut the plant back for new growth, and cut it down to the ground after the first frost. This plant attracts butterflies and bees.
Harvesting Mistflower: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Mistflower Seeds: Late in the season, these fuzzy flowers will begin to turn dull brown. Snip off entire heads and spread them out in a protected location to prevent the light seed from blowing away. When the heads have completely dried, shake them to remove the seed. The fluff attached to the seeds does not affect germination. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Mistflower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Blue Mistflower, Hardy Ageratum, Wild Ageratum Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Fall Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Moist USDA Zone: 4a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 333,000 Produces toothed, textured leaves and soft, flat clusters of fuzzy lavender-blue flowers.