Piggyback plant, also known as youth-on-age, is a lush herbaceous plant that lures pollinators into the woodland garden. Dense mounds of mostly-evergreen foliage spread easily, resulting in attractive colonies in moist understory areas. In spring, elongated maroon flowers bloom along stalks standing up to 2ft adobe the foliage. Aptly named, due to its visually interesting growth habit where baby plantlets develop on the tops of mature leaves; the youth literally piggy-backing off the old.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 0-2' high, 1-2' wide
- Light requirements: full shade, part-sun/part-shade
- Moisture requirements: moist soil
- Bloom time: April - August
- Growth rate/ease: fast growing, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to adult butterflies, attract and support bees, other insect pollinators, beneficial and pest eating insects
- Native habitat/range: grows in moist forests and along streambanks, mostly west of the Cascades, across the Pacific Northwest. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: landscape uses include pollinator gardens and woodland gardens; mostly-evergreen; groundcover
Gardening with Piggyback Plant: Piggyback plant prefers shady areas with moist soil, high in organic matter. Though it can be an aggressive spreader, dry or otherwise disturbed soils will inhibit its advance.
Photo Credits: Tracy Cozine & Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants