Aromatic Aster

Scientific Name:  Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Light: Full sun

Zone: 3 to 8

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Width: 1 to 3 feet

Flowers:  August to September; blue to purple

Fruit/Seed:

Fall Color:

Butterflies:  Many small to medium butterflies feed on the foliage and other parts of asters, including the Silvery Checkerspot caterpillar and many moth species.

Birds:  Wild Turkey and other upland game birds eat the seeds and foliage.

Hummingbird:

Deer ResistantDeer occasionally eat the foliage of asters.

Insects/Pollinators:  Aromatic aster is attractive to pollinators including: long-tongued and short-tongued bees.

Native:  Frederick and Montgomery counties only in Maryland Biodiversity project

Idea Garden:

Propagation:

Seed propagation:  Seeds can be collected from wild plants in late fall. Seeds should be collected in paper bags and allowed to dry for 1–2 weeks. If seeds are sown directly, sow them five-eighths of an inch deep in the fall and sow thickly.  If seeds are to be propagated in a container or using purchased seeds, they should be stored for 1–3 months at 30–40 degrees Fahrenheit before sowing. Many species of Aster benefit from moisture during the cold storage period.  After the cold period, seed will germinate in 10 to 15 days at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination to true leaf stage is 7 to 15 days. Seedlings should be thinned at this stage.

Vegetative propagation: Propagate by softwood cuttings taken in late spring or by divisions taken in the spring or autumn.

Description

Aromatic aster is an adaptable, easy to grow ground cover for dry, sunny locations.

Aromatic aster creates showy mounds of blooms in fall and is excellent for native landscape gardens. Aromatic aster is attractive to pollinators and butterflies.  It is a Silvery Checkerspot host.

Cultivars / Varieties

 October Skies – 18″.  Grows more compact than the species and features attractive deep sky blue flowers.

Raydon’s Favorite – 2-3′.  Medium blue, fine textured single ray flowers in September and October

Sources

Aromatic Aster  – USDA Plant Fact Sheet

Aromatic Aster – Missouri Botanical Garden

Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein

Asters for the Mid-Atlantic – Mt. Cuba Center

Recommended for Wildlife by

Creating a Wild Backyard – Hummingbirds, Butterflies & Bees – Maryland DNR

Some Favorite Nectar Plants – Washington Area Butterfly Club

Butterfly Gardening in the DC Area – Washington Butterfly Club

Bees, Bugs & Blooms – A pollinator trial – Penn State

 For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats – Virginia Extension

 Top Nectar Plants, Piedmont (Central Maryland) by North American Butterfly Association

Bring Home The Butterflies Vol. I: How to Attract More Monarchs to your Butterfly Garden…and Keep Them There! by Tony Gomez

Butterflies of Maryland:  A biological summary and checklist by Maryland DNR

Photo Credits

Clarence A. Rechenthin, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

Additional information

Light

Sun

Soil

Clay, Dry, Loam

Flower Color

Blue, Purple

Flower Season

Fall, Summer

Fruit Season

Fall

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Butterfly Host, Food for Birds, Nectar

Notable Features

Containers, Cut Flowers, Erosion Control, Fragrant, Long Blooming, Salt Tolerant

Native

Piedmont

Local Availability

Available

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