Native Plant Spotlight: Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)

Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) in a native flower garden in Southern Alberta in May

What a great little conversation piece for your native wildflower garden! From its intriguing nodding flowers to its adorable troll-like tufts of pink, to its red foliage in fall, this plant is an underrated native to plant in your flower garden this year!

Growth Habits

Prairie Smoke is a unique spring-blooming native wildflower. Each stem has three delicate rosy pink flowers which bow prettily over the foliage, thus the alternate name “Three Flowered Avens”.

The leaves are an interesting shape, deeply lobed, and turn quite red in the fall.

This plant prefers dry to very well-drained soil in full sun to part shade, and will die in standing moisture.

Growing only up to a foot tall, this petite plant is suitable for most wildflower gardens, as long as soil and sun conditions are met.

Prairie Smoke spreads moderately through rhizomes and by seeds. Although it has spread somewhat in my flower gardens, it certainly hasn’t made a nuisance of itself!

Bloom Time

Prairie Smoke begins blooming in May and continues through early July, after which the seed heads appear.

Another name for this delightful little beauty is “Old Man’s Whiskers” due to the upright gnome-like tufts of seeds that appear when blooming is complete.

In larger stands, this creates a fluffy pink cloud effect in the landscape, which is where the name “Prairie Smoke” came from. These seed heads last well into summer.

Prairie Smoke (geum triflorum) in bloom in a native wildflower garden in Southern Alberta in May

Insect Life

If your interest in native gardening is especially for supporting insects and other life, plant Prairie Smoke for sustaining bumblebees in spring! They love to gather pollen from these flowers.

Many other insects also drink nectar from these flowers when there isn’t a whole lot available yet.

In conclusion

I absolutely recommend planting Prairie Smoke. It will bring early spring joy, and is a low maintenance plant that doesn’t spread too aggressively! Plant this near the front of your native flower border so it can be easily viewed and appreciated.

Happy Gardening!