Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade
Soil moisture: Dry to wet
Flowering period: July
Host plant for caterpillar species
A tidy, upright plant with a uniform look, American germander produces surprisingly ornate flowers during the month of July. Though rather modest in size, the light pink, speckled blooms are quite attractive, offering a fine accent to a naturalized garden. The flowers are especially useful in partial shade, where mid-summer blooming plants are sometimes in short supply. American germander receives its share of attention from pollinators, with long-tongued bees such as bumble bees, leaf-cutting bees, and digger bees visiting most frequently. A digger bee called the chimney bee sometimes occupies the same riparian habitat that is home to American germander in nature. Outstanding architects, chimney bees often construct their nests high up on clay riverbanks, creating a tubular structure, the “chimney,” leading into the nest entrance. Many chimney bees will often build their nests right next to each other, making a veritable bee-city lined with chimneys. When stocking the nest with pollen and nectar, the chimney bee will happily visit any American germander that is growing nearby.
In terms of growing conditions, American germander prefers soils of moderately wet to average moisture, and sunlight of full to partial exposure. In the garden, American germander is best utilized in naturalized scenarios rather than formal ones, due to its tendency for aggressive spreading. The plant produces numerous rhizomes and often forms large colonies, making it especially valuable for filling in areas that may be vulnerable to weed encroachment. Suggested plants for pairing with American germander include common milkweed, early sunflower, short-toothed mountain mint, wild bergamot, and common yarrow.
Photo by Doug McGrady.