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NIEHS Springs to Life with Hardy Orange Flag Flowers

NIEHS Springs to Life with Hardy Orange Flag Flowers

Orange flags at NIEHS
Brightly colored Flag Flowers add striking color to this NIEHS winter scene.
Photo courtesy of Bill Willis

By Bill Willis

February 23, 2017

It is common to see early spring flowers on campus, but the Flag Flowers are truly remarkable. It’s not rare to see them spring up during warm weather in the most unusual places. NIEHS has had a few specimens for the last couple years, but this year is exceptional as NIEHS has five ongoing land disturbing projects at this time.

These wiry 12-inch flower stalks can be seen swaying gracefully in the wind. One characteristic that makes them so valuable in the landscape is they will tolerate about any soil type and temperature range. You can literally put them in the ground and forget about them.

Two orange flags in pavers
Lone flowers push forth from between pavers, demonstrating just now tough they are.
Photo courtesy of Bill Willis

Considered annuals in most zones, they are long bloomers, holding their color for weeks to months. After they finish their usefulness, they quickly disappear. Unfortunately, they don’t do well as cut specimens. Therefore, we ask that they be enjoyed where they are and not pulled up.

If you are interested in obtaining some for your yard, most hardware and garden centers carry a good selection in a variety of colors.

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