Antennaria dioica

Common Name: pussytoes 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Temperate northern hemisphere
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White to pale pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Best grown in lean, gritty to rocky, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants perform well in dryish soils. They require sharp soil drainage. They will thrive in bright cool summers, but generally dislike the hot and humid summers of the deep South. In optimum growing conditions, plants can spread by stolons to form an attractive ground cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Antennaria dioica, commonly called pussytoes, is a stoloniferous, ground-hugging perennial that produces a foliage mat of spatulate, gray-tomentose basal leaves (to 1" long) rising to only 2-3" tall but spreading to 18" wide. Corymbs of tiny white to pale pink flowers bloom in late spring to early summer on stems rising to 10" tall. Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), with male flowers typically appearing on shorter flower stalks.

Genus name comes from the Latin word antenna which means yard of a sailing ship in apparent reference to the bristle-like hairs on the flower heads purportedly resembling the antennae of some insects.

Specific epithet means having male and female plants.

Each tight flower cluster purportedly resembles the pads or toes of a cat's paw, hence the common name.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Difficult plant to grow unless lean, dry, well-drained soil conditions can be met. Poorly-drained soils inevitably lead to root rot.

Garden Uses

Soft, gray foliage is arguably the best ornamental feature of this spreading ground cover. Grows well between paving stones. It is useful as a small area ground cover in rock gardens, border fronts, foundations or other lean, rocky areas in the landscape. Effective atop stone walls.