Autumn Roadside Wildflowers

When traveling the backroads in Upstate South Carolina during autumn, I find the number of colorful, roadside wildflowers quite amazing. Many species are growing in or near the moist highway ditches, and by late August and September, they are tall and in full bloom. This year the wildflowers have started early and are quite spectacular because of the frequent rainstorms during spring and summer.

Some of my autumn favorites are Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium species), Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata), and goldenrods (Solidago species), and they all favor sunny conditions for best flowering. These native perennial wildflowers each bloom about the same time, and blend well with South Carolina native grasses, such as Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) to make an interesting roadside display.

For more information on showy selections of Joe-Pye weed for the perennial garden, see HGIC 1191, Joe-Pye Weed, and for more information on highly branched, floriferous cultivars of goldenrod for the home landscape, see HGIC 2326, Goldenrod & Ragweed.

Joe-Pye Weed blooms in August and September with large heads of soft mauve flowers.

Joe-Pye Weed blooms in August and September with large heads of soft mauve flowers.
Joey Williamson, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

Ironweed is a tall wildflower with deep violet flowers in autumn.

Ironweed is a tall wildflower with deep violet flowers in autumn.
Joey Williamson, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

There are many species of goldenrods in South Carolina, but they all have golden yellow flower clusters.

There are many species of goldenrods in South Carolina, but they all have golden yellow flower clusters.
Joey Williamson, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

Indiangrass is the South Carolina state grass, and these tall, light brown seed heads are frequently seen along sunny roadsides during autumn.

Indiangrass is the South Carolina state grass, and these tall, light brown seed heads are frequently seen along sunny roadsides during autumn.
Joey Williamson, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

 

 

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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