Melampodium is one of the hardest working plants in the Mary Snoddy garden. Its butter-yellow bloom color is not at the top of my favorites lists, but all of its other characteristics make it a winner.
It starts blooming when it is only a few inches tall.
It blooms all summer and fall.
It does equally well in beds or containers.
The spent blooms drop off without the need for deadheading.
No need to stake. The strong stems keep it erect.
It thrives in heat and humidity.
It will forgive a little bit of drought.
The plant branches as it grows, making a nice round shape.
It is deer resistant.
It is fairly easy to grow from seed, but plants are widely available in nurseries during April and May. When left alone, it will reseed all by itself.
Bees and butterflies love the blooms.
It is rarely bothered by insects or diseases.
Several cultivars are available. Labeled height range from 10 inches to 24 inches, although mine usually grow a littler taller than the label predicts.
The only drawback to the plant is that the warm yellow color of its flowers does not mix well with pastels. Instead, pair it with bold reds and strong purples. Perhaps I am biased, but I think it looks pretty wonderful with purple-leaf Perilla frutescens here at New Hope Farm.