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Steeplebush gets its name from its spirelike pink flower panicles that rise to the heavens in mid- to late summer. Pollinators congregate on them—native bees, hoverflies, and beetles gratefully gather the pollen. The blooms also produce a small amount of nectar, which attracts butterflies. Steeplebush supports many native caterpillars with its foliage as well; in some areas, it is host to as many as one hundred different species, some of which feed exclusively on it or on very closely related plants. This bonanza of insects in turn attracts songbirds, which rely on the high-protein nourishment that caterpillars provide.
May Benefit & Attract: cardinals & grosbeaks, wrens, sparrows, thrushes, orioles, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos, wood warblers
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 2-8
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A cool climate–loving Accent, Steeplebush grows most abundantly in eastern Canada, the Upper Midwest, and New England, though its range also drifts south to the southeastern states. In Europe, it has been adopted as a garden plant, though it has since jumped the fence and become invasive in natural areas there. Steeplebush is found in swampy areas and along lakes and streams. It is a valuable part of our wetland ecosystems, providing erosion control along waterways, supplying nectar and pollen to pollinators, feeding caterpillars, and offering cover and nesting habitat to shorebirds.
Plant some extra Steeplebush to use as cut flowers for the table. The plumy spikes can be used like Astilbes in fresh bouquets. In fall, the brown seedheads make for a nice textural addition to dried arrangements.
How to Grow
Steeplebush is native to wetland areas; likewise, in the landscape it grows most luxuriantly in constantly damp soil. However, this tough plant is surprisingly adaptable, and once established it can handle a fair amount of dryness. Plant it in full sun or light shade. This fast-growing Accent expands steadily via suckers; do not site it near small, delicate plants. Pruning can be accomplished at any time. If Steeplebush gets unruly or overgrown, you can simply cut it to the ground in early spring, and it will rejuvenate itself quickly.
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