A green space for urban gardeners

Time to play ‘name that plant’ (or ‘plants,’ as the case may be)

DSC00479DSC00480There’s something growing in my garden. That’s the good news.

The more perplexing news is that in this particular case I’m not sure of what exactly it is.

You see, a terra cotta pot from last season that sat on the balcony through the winter sprouted and filled up with so many lovely, dainty leaves that I decided to just let it be and see what developed.

It’s developed into what you see here: a profusion of lacy edged leaves with some taller spikes boasting thinner leaves protruding at intervals. And now it looks as though those spiky protrusions are on the verge of flowering. (Click on the second image for a closer look.)

As I’ve mentioned before, I usually stick with annuals for my container garden. Many perennials don’t flower the first year, and the chances of something making it to a second year after sitting exposed (without the protection afforded by being underground) are pretty low in zone 5.

Yet, this is what I have, and there’s way too much of it to believe that it was a random gift left by one of our feathered friends. So, I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with what was in that pot. Likely something stunning, which in full, glorious bloom I was unable to resist.

I thought delphinium was a likely candidate, since I’d had a pot of it in that location before. But as I recall, the leaves looked completely different, more like palm fronds… And of course, I may have mixed two varieties in the container (although two of the seldom-selected perennials winding up in the same pot seems pretty unlikely).

So, I’d really appreciate a little help from all my plant-loving friends out there. Go ahead, name that plant — and don’t let it be a weed (smile).


  Stephanie wrote @

Ha ha… don’t let it be weed. That’s right! Sorry I cannot tell šŸ˜‰ guess it looks like balsam. It is really nice to have surprises. I have a pot that sometimes a caladium shows up and other times, the coleus might just grow nicely… rest of the time, the dollarweed will be there. Happy discovering!

  Jo wrote @

I think the one about to flower may be Willow Herb and the other looks a little like Lunaria (Honesty). You’ll have a better chance of id’ing them once they flower.

  Erin wrote @

Hmmm…Well, it’s half weeds!

The bits that are sticking out look like Horseweed (although the little spiny hairs are odd). The lacy-edged spade shaped leaves are some kind of Nepeta (Catnip.)

The Horseweed was probably dropped by a bird. It’s just a weed. I’d pull it up.

Since you have a kitty, I’ll venture a guess that you grew some catnip in the past and it probably self-seeded. The seeds could even have blown from one pot to another if you don’t think you had catnip near that pot…

Looks like you have a couple other kinds of weeds in there (bottom left corner of pic 1.) I can’t recall the name of that one though. Lamb quarter’s maybe?

  Tatiana wrote @

Whoa – I can’t help with the plant, but I have the same story – a lettuce container from last year has sprouted weird plants, none of them lettuce. Sorry, had to share.

  Miss Daisy wrote @

Can’t wait to see the final result of your mystery plant! Keep us posted.

  City Diggity wrote @

Thanks all for the feedback on the mystery plant. I have grown catnip before, so that is a possibility. I’ll see what things look like in the coming days before I decide what to do with the other. My cat ignores catnip, so he’s no help with the i.d. šŸ˜‰

  Muum wrote @

oh……. I vote that it is balsam…… pure guess, though! let us know when it blooms!!!!

  linda wrote @

The lacy-edged leaves, if not catmint are something in the mint family for sure. The other plant is definitely something weedy – I see it a lot but don’t know it’s name.

  Dawn/LittleGreenFingers wrote @

Your cat ignores catnip?! I’m impressed, even for a cat that’s taking feline disdain to a whole new level…

  City Diggity wrote @

My cat is all about the grass. That he loves. He likes the dried catnip, but doesn’t go near the plant, so it leaves me in a quandary over what to do with this pot…

  Wendy wrote @

I also think it’s catnip – or it looks exactly like the catnip my daughter planted last year! Our catnip has come back, but I don’t think I’ve seen the flower spike. That’s from the same plant?? It took a while for our cat to find the catnip, but we do catch her going to it from time to time – then catch her zipping across the yard back and forth at full speed. šŸ™‚

  City Diggity wrote @

Wendy, It was catnip. I must’ve had it in that pot the previous summer. I remember trying it and I remember my cat ignoring it, even though he responds to dried catnip. He ignored it again this summer, so it’s a waste. I’ve been trying to gift it to a friend’s cat. Cat grass appears to be my cat’s snack of choice šŸ˜‰

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