Carpeting the ground with large, daisy-like flowers of pink, blue, or white, Windflowers bloom in spring under budding trees. The blossoms are set off by ruffled green foliage that forms a mat a foot across and only a few inches high.
Windflowers are grown from dried tubers planted in early fall. Pick a site that will receive partial shade come spring. They prefer a damp but well-drained soil rich in organic matter; you may need to add a 3-inch layer of compost. April snowstorms usually provide enough moisture. The tubers are placed scar-side up, 2 inches deep and 8 – 12 inches apart. After bloom, let the leaves continue to make food for the tubers until they dry naturally. Windflowers are hardy to USDA Zone 5, so they are not suitable for the highest altitudes.
Consider planting these informal flowers in drifts under deciduous trees and shrubs, or naturalize in short grass. They also make a lovely groundcover under taller spring blooming bulbs.
Contributed by Leslie Holzmann, Colorado Master Gardener. For information, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 636.8921 or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com
Photo courtesy of Leslie Holzmann.