Mt. Cuba Collection

The Mt. Cuba Collection™ features a selection of exceptional native plants that provide stunning seasonal interest while welcoming wildlife into your garden. Selected for strong ornamental appeal and broad regional adaptability, many members of this Collection have risen to become some of the most popular cultivars of native plants available.

Since 1988, Mt. Cuba Center has promoted the garden use of native plants. This tradition continues today, as we endeavor to select exceptional native plants, with an eye for ecological value and beauty, to increase their garden availability to the public.

Read on to learn more about the plants featured in the Collection.

Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame,’ or Purple Flame blue flag, is an exciting new selection of Iris versicolor that has been grown in our gardens for decades.

While it is similar in many ways to the typical native blue flag, Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame’ sets itself apart when the eye-catching eggplant-purple new foliage emerges in early spring.

As the season progresses, Purple Flame blue flag produces dark stems that display 3-4” showy, purple flowers with a prominent yellow blotch above the 2-3’ tall foliage. As the blooms begin in late May, the fans of leaves fade to more subdued tones of green.

Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame’ grows well in wet-to-average soil in filtered shade and full sun. It is hardy from zone 3 to 9.

Introduced 2020

Learn More

Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ is an incredibly sturdy and floriferous selection of Coreopsis tripteris. Commonly referred to as Gold Standard tall tickseed, the mature height of Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ is approximately 5-6′ tall which is slightly shorter than the typical tall tickseed.

Beginning in late July, a multitude of sunshine yellow flowers appear above the robust, disease-resistant foliage. The floral display lasts over two months and the resulting seeds are a favorite among goldfinches. Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ is a rhizomatous cultivar that spreads slowly—approximately 2′ over three years.

This plant was collected from Jefferson County, Alabama, and was named and introduced as a result of its excellent performance in Mt. Cuba Center’s coreopsis trial.

Introduced 2016

Learn More

Formerly called Aster laevis, Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve ‘Bluebird,’ or Bluebird smooth aster, is an herbaceous perennial, selected for its attractive, pest-free foliage and large (1”), violet-blue flowers which appear in abundance.

It was found in 1988 in a Guilford, Connecticut garden as a spontaneously occurring seedling. It has an upright habit to 4’ tall and generally needs no staking.

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve ‘Bluebird’ blooms in September/October in full sun to light shade with a broad tolerance of soil types and moisture levels.

Introduced 1994

Learn More

Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece,’ or Golden Fleece autumn goldenrod, was discovered in 1985 as a spontaneous garden seedling in Eden, North Carolina. It was evaluated under diverse conditions at Mt. Cuba Center and determined to be a low-growing, compact form of the species.

Growing only 18″ tall, it is suitable for use as an herbaceous perennial groundcover. Multi-branched stems arise from basal rosettes of broadly rounded foliage and are covered with a profusion of golden-yellow floral spires from mid-September to October.

It performs best in full sun with average moisture but is tolerant of a range of conditions from sunny and dry to partial shade. Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’ is hardy in zones 3-8. It won the Internationale Stauden-Union’s Award for an outstanding new plant in Switzerland in 1994.

Introduced 1989

Learn More

Formerly called Aster novae-angliae, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome,’ or Purple Dome New England aster, is an herbaceous perennial selected for its compact size, forming a solid purple mound, 18″ tall x 24″ wide, of semi-double flowers in September/October.

Its dense floral display and short stature minimize its lack of resistance to foliar problems. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ was first observed along Pennsylvania Route 100 below Allentown, Pennsylvania, by Robert G. Seip of Lennilea Farm and given to Mt. Cuba Center.

It performs best in full sun to light shade in moist, well-drained soil.

Introduced 1989

Learn More