by Maureen Williams
Based on personal experience with the Cup Plant – Silphium perfoliatum, hereafter referred to by its common name “Cup”
2011 was the year I met Cup; it appeared on a list of plants recommended by the Native Plant Nursery at Lemoine Point to feature in our Pollinator Garden project. The plan was to plant a collection of native and other hardy perennials that pollinators would love and humans would appreciate enough to consider planting in their own gardens. Thus , the project was named a Demonstration Garden.
The baby cup (12 inch seedling) was planted in September 2011.
A year later ( 2012) it was the tallest plant in the garden (est. 6 ft.) with a crown of yellow flowers hosting many bees…a Pollinator friendly success story!
As it grew, it formed a tidy clump and really impressed us all. At its finest in 2014.
Alas, the story shifts gears:
- Stakes and ties to keep it upright in spring
- Cutting back old stalks at fall clean-up
- Removal of many cup babies
- 2018 removal of many more cup babies
- 2019 decision to remove “mother Cup”, see KHS Volunteer excavation team in action November 2019.
The moral of the story: In the right place (maybe by a farm gate) Cup is an attractive pollinator-friendly plant…BUT…it will overpower in most gardens . For that reason, we are no longer recommending it as an addition to your garden.
2020 update. There are a few baby cups still sprouting. If you would like one, contact us at email@example.com