Blue Porterweed
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

Blue Porterweed

Blue porterweed is found in the rocklands of the everglades to Key West in open, sunny places. The leaves are three inches long and a bit leathery and smooth with a low, matt forming growth usually under 18 inches tall. The small blue flowers are born on a whip like spike and are very attractive to butterflies. The Tropical Buckeye Butterfly larva feeds on the leaves.

The exotic Nettleleaf Vervain is up to six feet tall. Its leaves have a more quilted look. It is invasive and is almost always sold as the native species. It should not be planted.

Blue Porterweed prefers dry to moist soil and is surprisingly tolerant of short term flooding. It makes a nice edge along a butterfly garden where it will live for years unless there are freezing temperatures. Usually it comes back from stubs or seedlings anyway.

The stems are hollowed by a moth caterpillar during the winter. The plant should be cut back to a few inches and the stems thrown away. In March, when the weather warms, new growth will fill out the planting and fresh flowers will form until late fall.