The tall, textured, beautiful, pink flowers of queen of the prairie are lovely in cottage gardens, in meadows, and near streams or ponds in the summer. They can also create dimension if planted in the back portions of beds and borders. The blooms and foliage provide a pleasant fragrance, and they are spectacular when planted en masse. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.
Size and method of spreading:
Queen of the prairie typically grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and spreads 3 to 4 feet wide. It readily self-seeds and also forms colonies of clones from underground stem structures (rhizomes). It is best to divide queen of the prairie in the spring, which is also when it is best to sow seeds in containers.
Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)
Queen of the prairie is native to the Northeastern United States into a large portion of the Midwest. C-value: 10.
Attracts birds or pollinators:
Queen of the prairie does not provide nectar for pollinators. However, bees are important pollinators of these plants, and beetles and flies feed on the pollen.
Nonflowering stems grow from the base of queen of the prairie, and what appear to be one to seven individual leaves on those stems are actually leaflets that make up a compound leaf. The leaflets are arranged like a feather (pinnately compound). The terminal leaflets are more rounded with seven to nine deeply cut lobes. The lateral leaflets have two to three deeply cut lobes. The long stems that bear the flowers have leaflike structures (stipules) that are widely spaced along the length. These stipules have earlike appendages (auricles) at their bases that partially surround the stem.
The flowers of queen of the prairie occur on individual stalks that attach to branching stems, with the lateral branches exceeding the length of the central branches in a gobletlike form (panicle inflorescence). The flowers mature from the bottom to the top. Each flower has five to 15 stringlike parts (stamen) protruding from the five egg-shaped (ovate) pink petals. The stamen give the inflorescence a soft, fuzzy appearance.
The fruits of queen of the prairie are small, less than one-half inch. They are dry, smooth, red at maturity, and single-seeded (achenes). Unlike the related queen of the meadow, the fruit of queen of the prairie is not twisted.
Queen of the prairie prefers rich soils that are moist to wet, as they are not drought tolerant. In warmer climates, queen of the prairie performs best in partial shade. Deadheading will not extend blooming but may help reduce self-seeding.
List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:
Queen of the prairie does not have major issues with pests or disease. This is a deer-resistant perennial.