Compass plant scientific name is Silphium laciniatrum and the plant is a native of the American prairies. Like the prairielands, the Compass plant is declining due to loss of habitat. Actually growing the compass plant flowers in the garden is one way to ensure that this lovely plant does not disappear from the American landscape. Continue reading to learn more about the garden compass plants.


Compass Plant Info

The compass plants actually look much like wild sunflowers, though they are both members of the Asteraceae family, but they are not the same plant. The Compass plants are actually tall plants with sturdy, bristly stems that reach heights of about nine to twelve feet. The plant has deeply cut leaves that resemble oak leaves which can reach a length of about twelve to eighteen inches. The plant also has clusters of bright yellow, daisy-like flowers bloom on the upper part of the plant during the hot summer months. The plant name was actually granted by early settlers who believed the plant’s huge basal leaves point north-south. While this is often true, a compass is more reliable. The growth direction of the plant is likely a way for the plant to maximize water and sunlight in the rugged prairie environment.

Furthermore, the Compass plant is a natural in a wildflower meadow, prairie garden, or a native plant garden. The benefits of the plant include its ability to attract a number of important pollinators, varieties of native bees and also several types of butterfly. You can locate the plant behind shorter wildflowers.


How to Care for Compass Plant

Actually the Compass plant care is minimal as long as the Compass plant is sited in full sun and a moist to slightly dry, well-drained soil. The Compass plant also needs deep soil to accommodate its long taproot, which can reach a length of about fifteen feet. One of the best ways to start compass plant is to sow the compass plant seeds directly in the garden, either un-stratified seeds in autumn or stratified seeds in spring. Just be patient; 2 or 3 years are required for the compass plant seedlings to grow into full-size, blooming plants, as most of the energy is directed towards the development of the roots. However, once the compass plant is established, the plant can survive for up to one hundred years. The established plants self-seed readily. The Compass plant is actually a drought-tolerant plant but can also benefits from occasional watering, most especially during hot weather. The compass plant can become top heavy, most especially when they are planted on windy slopes.

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