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Plant Profile: Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

queen-annes-lace-2It is Queen Anne’s Lace time in the North Carolina Piedmont and I am rejoicing. I would give a lot to grow Queen’s Anne Lace in my garden but I know that she is a free spirit and I respect that so I harvest her blooms from weedy lots. Every year I look forward to making at least one lovely, romantic, arrangement featuring Queen Anne’s Lace. Sometime I just put single stems of her in a vase; other times I combine her with whatever I have in the garden of the same ilk. Today it was the greenery of chartreuse hosta leaves overlaid with darker green pittosporum leaves, three sprays of the pink rose ‘Ballerina’, 3 large pink coneflowers, and an accent of dark pink bee balm. I may have been the only person that liked the combination, but I enjoyed making it. I will definitely make note of the place where I found it this year and hope that next year will bring another bountiful harvest. That is not to say that I would not welcome Queen Anne’s Lace into my garden; I do. I will shake the seed heads in the appropriate places and hope for the best. It would be a wonderful garden plant in my garden if it chooses to grow there but it probably won’t.

Type: Biennial.

queen-annes-lace-c-purple-flower

Bloom: Tiny white flowers are borne in umbels up to 3” across May to October. Some flower heads have a single purple flower in the center.

Size: 24-48” H x 12” W.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Tolerant of many soil types and is common in roadsides and fields in many parts of the country.

Fertilizer: An organic mulch will provide all that is needed.

Hardiness: Zones 3-9.

Care: In some areas it may become invasive and must be removed by digging out the tap root and collecting seed heads before they ripen.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance.

Bird's nest seed pod

Bird's nest seed pod

Propagation: Collect seed when seed heads (called bird’s nests) turn brown.

Companion plants: Queen Anne’s Lace is a wild flower and so can be nicely combined with other such plants like grasses, black eyed Susan, butterfly weed, golden rod, coneflower, thistle, and common mullein.

Comments: Caterpillars of the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly eat its leaves and bees and other insects use its nectar.

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