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Cup Plant

Cup plant flower
Photo credit: Joshua Mayer

Cup plant
(Silphium perfoliatum)


  • 4 to 10 feet


  • July to September


  • Native
  • Perennial


  • Full sun

Soil moisture:

  • Medium to moist

Provides food for:

  • Honey bees (flowers)
  • Native bees (flowers)
  • Butterflies (flowers),
  • Hummingbirds (flowers, insects),
  • Caterpillars (foliage),
  • Songbirds (seeds, caterpillars and other insects)


  • 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.

Native Range:

USDA range map for cup plant
Map credit: USDA Plants Database

Relevant Backyard Ecology Resources: