Cup Plant

Photo credit: Joshua Mayer


Cup plant

(Silphium perfoliatum)



    • 4 to 10 feet


    • July to September


    • Native
    • Perennial


    • Full sun

Soil moisture:

    • Medium to moist

Used by:

    • Honey bees (flowers and “cups”),
    • Native bees (flowers and “cups”),
    • Butterflies (flowers and “cups”),
    • Caterpillars (foliage),
    • Songbirds (seeds and “cups”)


    • Tends to grow taller than “normal” in garden soil.
    • May flop over if not staked.
    • Base of leaves wrap tightly around stem to form “cup.” Birds, frogs, pollinators, etc. will take advantage of water that collects in cups.
    • Spreads aggressively partly due to birds moving the seeds. Not a good choice for small spaces where you don’t want the plants to spread.

Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife articles:

Bicolored Sweat Bee

Cup plant

Native range in North America:



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