Silphium perfoliatum


Cup or compass plant. Upright herbaceous perennial growing 1-2m high, with yellow flowers. One of the very best attractors of beneficial insects like hoverflies which will eat your aphid pests. The large, bright yellow daisy-shaped flowers are carried in loose clusters on sturdily upright stems with just a few deeply toothed leaves. Grows into an upright plant that is ideal for the back of a border

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I first saw this giant from the US prairies in the newly planted long borders at Kew, planted with Filipendula rubra venusta which was a  stunning combination.

Silphium are very robust perennials with tall stems bearing simple, aromatic leaves and loose clusters of yellow, daisy-like flowers in summer and early autumn.

Cups form where the toothed leaves meet the thick stems, birds are said to drink from the water held in the cups hence the common name.

There are 15 species of Silphium but this one is particularly garden worthy with an RHS-AGM. However, a large garden is needed for these as each plant can grow 250cm high by 200cm wide. They are not invasive but set a lot of seed. Unwanted offspring should be pulled out when young before the deep tap root penetrates too far. Grow in any moisture retentive soil in full sun.

  • Pot size : 9cm
  • Position: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Flowering period: Summer
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
  • Eventual height & spread: 200cm x 120cm