Narrow-leaved mule’s ear is a drought-tolerant wildflower that can be used easily in almost any sunny native garden, such as meadowscapes or open woodland gardens. It sports an oversized and showy yellow flower, very similar to a sunflower and equally adored by pollinators.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant/ground layer
- Size at maturity: 1-2' high, 1-3' wide
- Light requirements: full sun
- Moisture requirements: moist to dry, well-drained soil
- Bloom time: May to July
- Growth rate/ease: moderate to slow growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators; overall plant is a caterpillar host plant and larval food source for native butterflies and moths
- Native habitat/range: colonies of narrow-leaved mule’s ears settle often in meadows and moist hillsides, but are also present in dry, open slopes at low to mid elevations. This species can be found from southern Washington and the Columbia River Gorge through the Willamette Valley and Central California. Portland Plant List - no.
- Special features & uses: landscape uses include pollinator gardens and wildflower meadowscapes
Gardening with Narrow-leaved Mule’s Ear: Plant in full sun areas with sandy, loamy soils that are well-drained to see this lovely wildflower thrive. Its lanceolate leaves start lush in the early season, then turn crispy brown as the season progresses. So we recommend interplanting with other bunchgrasses and wild flowers that fill in and easily cover the dry leaves. Like many native perennials, it dies back entirely, then returns the following spring. It is also slow-growing, but will spread via rhizomes over many years.
Photo credits: Sevenoaks Native Nursery