If you grow it, they may not buy it

One of the frustrating things about growing and propagating plants is when you find an incredible plant, offer it for sale, and virtually no one buys it. Such is the case with the Texas native, Ageratina havanensis, aka: Havana Mistflower, Eupatorium havanense. This fascinating woody perennial, formerly classified as a eupatorium, forms a 3′ tall x 7′ wide mound of foliage, that’s smothered starting in late October with a dense blanket of white flowers. I can think of little else that gives you this much flower power in the fall sun garden. An array of butterflies and moths are regular visitors. The photo below is from mid-November this year. Located with enough space, there is never any required maintenance. Any idea why we never could get folks to purchase these when they were offered through PDN?

Ageratina havanensis

7 thoughts on “If you grow it, they may not buy it”

  1. When I’m shopping at PND, I enjoy the various lists you have–Tony’s Favorites, etc. I think there’s one for giant plants, too? Maybe have a list of plants at risk of retirement, or in need of fans, or some such. I’d look, at least.
    Thank you for adding a smile to nearly every day.

  2. The pluses are it is Fall blooming. And I believe it is also drought tolerant. A height of 3’ is a good height for a garden location. However, a 7’ width may deter some unless it can be easily pruned to control its spread. Where I used to live, I got plenty of direct sunlight. But where I live now, with mature oaks and maples, I don’t think it would thrive anywhere on my property.

    The other possibility is marketing. When I get an email from PDN about plants on sale, featured plants, etc and I click the link, I am presented with 10+ web pages of plants. For some, that would be heaven. For me, I am overwhelmed and I rarely go past the third web page. If there were a way to filter your featured offerings, such as by zone, dormancy period, light requirements, etc, it would increase my chances of stumbling upon your hidden gems.

    For reference, I live in Zone 7b North Carolina.

  3. Wow, if it is hardy in Zone 10a then I missed something special. I am always looking to extend the nectar/pollen supply into winter to support the butterflies and bees. One success story I purchased from PDN is Eupatorium Hernandezii, blooming now in my zone 10a garden it supports all sorts of bees, butterflies, moths and wasps. That’s not to mention it’s inherent beauty in the November Garden when everything else is winding down.
    Keep up the good work PDN !

  4. I grew Ageratina havanensis in the Austin, TX area for two years. It is moderately findable in nurseries there, probably bolstered by being locally native in an area where relatively few plants will grow.

    My main complaint with it was that it’s pretty nondescript for most of the year, with maybe 4-6 weeks of white in November and then brown puffy seeds. In Austin, where most flowers bloom for months and there isn’t really a classic fall color vibe anytime, a short bloom duration followed by brown was a hard sell.

    I actually think it would look nicer here in NC where that bloom duration is more typical and an interesting brown texture works well for late fall. But, there is more competition for attractive plants here too.

    I wonder how it would look in a fall garden with the always magnificent Baccharis halimifolia and a variety of asters. Would it be the weakest link, or would it earn its keep as a fresh variation on that theme?

    1. You’re correct, which is whey diversity is so important in the garden. We enjoy the fact that different plants go in and out of flower, which adds to the changable nature of the garden. We like Baccharis halimifolia, but it reseeds terrible, something we’ve never seen with Ageratina havanensis.

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