Spreading Dogbane is a native wildflower with bright green leaves and small, attractive, white and pink, bell-shaped flowers. It is a 2-5 ft. widely branching, shrub-like perennial with opposite leaves and groups of flowers near the branch tips. The flowers’ fragrance is reminiscent of lilac. It grows erect with many diffusing purplish stems, tough, fibrous bark and spreading by underground rhizomes. It has a fast growth rate. Its dark green leaves appear as pointed ovals, 2-4 in (6-10 cm) long. The sweetly scented white to pink bell shaped flowers bloom in small clusters from the stem tips, petals distinctively curve backwards. Spreading dogbane blooms during June-August. It is especially attractive in the fall with yellow leaves and reddish stems. It is common and widespread across most of the United States, Canada, and NE Mexico.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 1-2 months.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container and leave it to drain.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
- The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.