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Cup Plant

Silphium perfoliatum

Square stems with cupping leaves lend a verticality to this raingarden and wildlife plant


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Silphium perfoliatum, commonly called Cup Plant, is a native perennial forb (wildflower). Cup Plant is easy to distinguish from other Silphium spp., as well as various sunflowers, by the perfoliate leaves that can hold water, and the hairless four-angled stems.

Wildlife notes

Long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers are common visitors and the most important pollinators of the flowers. Some short-tongued bees, wasps, bee flies, and other kinds of flies also visit the flowers for pollen or nectar.  Various birds, especially goldfinches, are very fond of the seeds, and drink water from the cups formed by the leaves. Because of the tendency to form dense colonies, this plant provides good cover for birds, which often lurk among the leaves during the heat of the day, searching for insects or pausing to rest.

Forage notes

Cattle eat the eat leaves of Cup Plant, especially those of immature plants.

Landscaping notes

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Prefers moist, rich soils, but tolerates some drought once established. Self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. A large plant that needs lots of space. Some gardeners find cup plant to be too large and weedy for border rears, but others find it to be an effective backdrop for other perennials. Adapts well to prairies, wildflower/native plant gardens, naturalized areas or moist, open woodland areas including stream/pond edges.

Restoration notes

Typical habitats include moist black soil prairies, moist meadows near rivers, low-lying woodland edges and thickets, fens and seeps, lake borders, fence rows, and along ditches near railroads.

Watch videos about this plant:

Silphiums for Wildlife

Grazing Silphiums

Additional information

Weight N/A

Packet, Ounce, Pound


Full Sun

Seeding Rate

9 bulk lbs/acre





Bloom Month




# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq. ft

Life Cycle


What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.