I knew nothing of Narrowleaf Silk Grass when I saw it at my favorite native plant nursery in early September. It was still blooming amid the gone to seed coneflowers, baptisias and other natives that Growild grows and sells wholesale to landscapers and retail nurseries.
Sure, it's another one of those "darned yellow composites", but, the narrow silvery grass like leaves give it a different appearance in the garden. The fact that it was still blooming last week after being pelted by a great deal of rain makes it an attractive garden addition. (edit: Just checked, it's still blooming!)
The yellow flowers are small...about the size of a nickle and generally begin to flower in late summer and continue to bloom into the middle of October. It's about three feet tall when it hasn't been beaten down by the relentless rains. A haircut in June will help it stay compact and upright. My major concern is that the soil has been too wet and it may rot away before it has a chance to settle in. Sunlight Garden says that the soil should be kept lean and mean. There's room to move and grow
I've frequently thought that C&L soil is mean, but, it may not be lean enough! Which may be to our benefit~~it appears to colonize in DRY, SANDY soils! One description says that it "occurs as scattered plants on better soils"(Forest Plants of The Southeast: Miller and Miller) We'll see, first it has to survive the wet weather Mother Nature has been throwing at it. Then it has to survive our wet winters! ~~The longitudinal studies aren't in yet! (edit: Nell Jean has a nice mention of it here)
Unfortunately, for regular readers residing north of us; Narrow Silkgrass appears to be a true native to the Southeastern States and up into the Ohio Valley. It would be pushing it to plant it in zones colder then 5.
My good friend, Frances (fairegarden) and I have spoken at great length about enthusiastic plants~~Physostegia virginiana and the native asters are excellent examples of enthusiastic, easy care plants that make beautiful swaths of color in the garden. It's possible that Narrowleaf Silk Plant will fit that description~
We can certainly hope!
Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. Theodore Roethke