rick7072

Anyone growing Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) in New England?

I visited Homer, Alaska recently and loved seeing the beautiful Fireweed everywhere. Back home in Boston, I don't know of anyone who's grown it here and I don't know that I've seen it in the wild either. Does anyone grow it in their gardens in New England?

Comments (10)

  • defrost49
    3 years ago

    On our first trip to AK we drove from Skagway to Anchorage overnighting in Tok. Somewhere along the way there was an old burn area with acres and acres of fireweed. It was gorgeous. Keep your eyes open because I occasionally see it growing wild here in NH. The first time was under a power line where I was blueberrying.

    Rick (zone 6b, MA) thanked defrost49
  • Rick (zone 6b, MA)
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Yep: once we easterners have seen the unending fireweed fields of Alaska your life kind of changes and you can’t get the plant out of your mind. It would be interesting to take a couple of plants that you’ve seen growing wild there in New Hampshire to bring them back to your own garden and see what happens. Under the right conditions, it sure seems to spread like wildfire (pun intended) but by and large on the East Coast it just doesn’t seem to have either spread in the wild or been adopted by gardeners here. (I do think it grows in various places in the Midwest.)

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    It is a plant difficult to control in a garden setting, so to my mind better suited to use in a wild meadow such as where defrost has seen it. I have seen it along a mowed road verge here. I am about 3 towns over from defrost. It spreads both by windborne seeds (like dandelion) and by rhizomes, both rather enthusiastically, so that is why I wouldn't be happy with it in a garden. I would expect that you would be removing it from under shrubs and out of both other perennials and your lawn. Your neighbors might not appreciate the seedlings.

  • defrost49
    3 years ago

    Rick, our second trip to AK was in late June/early July so we were there for the early wildflowers and cottonwood blossoms. I bought a postcard of the overlook to Homer Spit and also an unusual art book about an artist whose life and style changed after she broker her arm. I'll have to look it up. If I remember correctly, her family had a plane so she would often go into the wilderness to sketch flowers. Our timing was also great to include the Forest Fair in Girdwood. So much fun to visit with local crafters and artists to find some great souvenirs to bring home. And the hanging baskets were gorgeous wherever we saw them.

    NHBabs, thanks for the plant info.

    Rick (zone 6b, MA) thanked defrost49
  • Suzanne Maynard
    9 months ago

    Please don’t plant it here! It’s invasive like purple loosestrife! I loved it in Alaska but leave it there!

  • Rick (zone 6b, MA)
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Ok, thanks for the warnings. I never got it to germinate anyway!

  • defrost49
    9 months ago

    I had to re-read my old comments. I rarely see fireweed and that patch I found under some power lines hasn't spread. But sadly, I've seen loosestrife spreading madly along the roads around here.

  • Jade Forest
    2 months ago

    I believe fireweed is banned in Massachusetts due to its invasive nature.

    Rick (zone 6b, MA) thanked Jade Forest
  • Rick (zone 6b, MA)
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks, gardengal, and now I see that Chamerion angustifolium or Chamaenerion are now the newer names for Epilobium.