What's in Bloom

As the seasons change, so does the scenery at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Nurtured by the sun's warmth, plants and flowers all across our grounds come into bloom in their own time, bursting forth in kaleidoscopes of color. In an effort to keep you up to date, we will update this web page weekly, between April and November, with highlights of what you can see now.

We also encourage you to check out our new digital map. You can turn on the What's in Bloom layer at top right to see where these plants, and more, are blooming on our grounds. 

Featured Bloom

spotted joe pye-weed

Spotted Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Although its name might suggest it’s an unwanted volunteer in our gardens, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed is actually an invited guest. A guest that’s so welcome, you’ll find it in a variety of locations throughout the Arboretum, including the Spring Peeper Meadow, Sensory Garden, Elizabeth Carr Slade Perennial Garden, MacMillan and Morgan Terrace gardens and Iris pond. So if you’re looking for a game to play as you walk the Arboretum these days, let us suggest Spot the Spotted Joe-Pye Weed. 

Spotted Joe-Pye Weed is a native perennial in Minnesota, and you’ll find it blooming throughout the state from July to September. It’s sometimes confused for Sweet Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum), which looks similar, but doesn’t sport the signature spots along the stem. Spotted Joe-Pye Weed can grow from three- to six-feet tall, and the flowers often have a lovely scent. The wildflowers bloom in three- to five-inch domes made up of dozens to hundreds of pink to purple flower heads.

In addition to its beauty and delightful scent, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed is also attractive for the friends it brings to the garden. It’s blooms attract butterflies and nocturnal moths. “The dome of flowers forms an ideal butterfly-landing pad, and when the plant is in bloom in summer, I immerse myself in it to look for butterflies,” writes Arboretum Director of Operations Alan Branhagen in his book, Native Plants of the Midwest.


pin  Locate Spotted Joe-Pye Weed and other blooming plants on our grounds

What else is blooming

Ornamental Onion (Allium 'Millenium')
Blooming in late summer, ‘Millenium’ is a hybrid ornamental onion that won the 2018 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year award.  This hybrid has a clumping habit, and in the spring or fall, it can be divided.  When in flower, a spherical umbel is covered in purple florets.

Bigleaf Ligularia (Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford')
Growing up to heights of three to four feet tall, ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ is known for large, glossy, and purple foliage.  In the late summer, gold flowers ascend over the dark foliage to create a beautiful contrast in color. Generally, if disease free, slugs and snails can sometimes be a problem with the plant.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Blovi' Viette’s Little Suzy)
Viette’s Little Suzy is grown for its compact size, typically only reaching heights of one to one and a half feet tall.  This plant is best planted in large masses along borders to create an impactful show of flowers in mid to late summer.

Grey-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
A member of the aster family, the grey-headed coneflower is native to the central and eastern United States.  This plant can easily reach heights of seven feet and blooms in mid to late summer.  It is best suited for native gardens and meadow or prairie restorations.

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
Like the common name suggests, garlic chives are grown for both ornamental and culinary purposes.  Native to China, this plant has naturalized in many places around the world.  For ornamental use, this plant blooms in the late summer and produces tiny, white flowers.

Korean Angelica (Angelica gigas)
A short-lived perennial, native to China, Japan, and Korea, this plant blooms in late summer.  The plant will produce deep reddish-purple stems that create structural interest in the garden.  This plant is best propagated by seed due to its short lifespan.

White Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan')
As elegant as a swan, this cultivar of coneflower will produce large white flowers with petals that droop slightly downward.  Blooming from mid to late summer, this plant is also a butterfly magnet.

Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum)
One of the tallest prairie plants, prairie dock can reach heights of up to 10 feet.  Blooming in late summer, these almost leafless flower stalks produce sunflower-like flowers that can be up to three inches wide.

Meadow Blazing-star (Liatris ligulistylis)
Native to the central United States, meadow blazing-star blooms in late summer to early fall with vibrant, fluffy, purple flowers.  Sometimes slow to establish, this plant is a favorite treat of the Monarch butterfly.

Grass-leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia
An herbaceous perennial with foliage reminiscent of grass, this plant produces golden flowers in flat-topped arrays that can sometimes reach widths of one foot.  This plant will perform best planted in full sun and blooms in late summer to early fall.

Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata
A native North American perennial, this species of flowering spurge produces flowers that are reminiscent of baby’s breath. The true flowers are found in the golden center as the white petal-like structures are actually bracts. This plant typically blooms from July to August.

Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’)
Blooming in late summer, the ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangea has won several awards for its reliable flowering and easy care. As they mature, the panicles of flowers change from lime green to white. They can even add winter interest with their spent flowers.

Moon Carrot (Seseli gummiferum)
You might believe this plant is from the moon by the looks of it.  Covered in lacey silvery-blue foliage, this plant blooms from mid to late summer.  This perennial is short-lived with a short habit that makes it suitable for rock gardens or border plantings.

Mountain Fleeceflower (Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Fitretail’)
The ‘Firetail’ variety of mountain fleeceflower blooms throughout the summer and fall, up until the first frost.  Reaching heights of three to four feet, the flowers are magenta spikes atop spindly stems.

Joe-pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum
Joe-pye weed typically blooms from mid to late summer and produces light to deep purple flowers in compound inflorescences.  A North American native, this plant thrives when planted in moist soils with full sun.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
The cardinal flower, known for its vibrant red flowers, relies on hummingbirds for pollination.  Native to the Americas, cardinal flower typically blooms from mid to late summer and can reach heights of up to six feet.

Western Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)
A member of the Aster family, Western Ironweed grows from two to four feet tall and blooms in late summer.  The purple flowers will attract butterflies, and the plant also serves as a larval host for the American painted lady.

Ornamental Onion (Allium 'Summer Beauty')
The ‘Summer Beauty ornamental onion is mid- to late summer blooming perennial that produces lavender-pink flowers that also work as excellent cut flowers.  ‘Summer Beauty’ was the recipient of the Gold Medal Award from the PHS.  This plant works as an excellent border planting.

Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
Balloon flower gets its name from the immature buds that blow up like balloons before bursting into bell-shaped flowers.  Native to East Asia, this herbaceous perennial typically blooms from June to August.  This plant will produce more blooms from deadheading.

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
The Russian sage was the perennial plant of the year in 1995.  Known for its silvery foliage and lavender flowers, this plant will bloom from mid-summer to fall.  For best flowering, plant in full sun and make sure to avoid moist soils as this plant proves to be drought tolerant.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm') 
A winner of the Award of Garden Merit from the RHS in 1993, ‘Goldsturm’ thrives in full sun to partial shade and blooms from mid-summer to fall.  This plant is known for being low maintenance and highly resistant to disease.

Wholeleaf Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium)
A drought-tolerant plant when established, the wholeleaf rosinweed will produce anywhere from one to 15 flowers on a single inflorescence when in bloom.  This plant can grow up to heights of six-feet tall, so it works well as a background planting in a garden.

Last updated on August 11, 2020