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ASTER ericoides

Image of Aster ericoides

JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

ASTER ericoides

Plant Common Name

Heath Aster

General Description

Heath aster is a tough, drought-tolerant perennial native to much of central and eastern North America. Named for its finely textured, needle-like foliage, it is valued in gardens for its airy, late-season display of small, white, occasionally pale pink or light blue daisies and is popular for use as a long-lasting filler for bouquets. Several cultivars exist, including ‘Pink Star’, which forms mounds of pale lavender-pink flowers, and ‘Snow Flurry’, an exceptionally low-growing form with drifts of clear white blooms. Some of the cultivars listed under this botanical name are actually selections or hybrids of other needle-leaved asters.

The arching, many-branched, sometimes lax stems of this aster are lined with narrow, elliptical foliage that often drops by the time flowering occurs. The prolific blossoms appear in early to mid-autumn and are highly attractive to butterflies and other small pollinating insects. They are followed by small, silvery seedheads that add textural interest to the winter landscape.

This perennial grows easily in full sun and is adaptable to a wide range of well-drained soils. If allowed to it will self-sow readily about the garden; remove faded flowering stems promptly if seedlings are not desired. The stem tips of taller cultivars may be pinched in late spring or very early summer to encourage bushier growth and heavier flowering. Divide clumps in spring every few years, if necessary. Use heath aster in mixed borders, cutting gardens, or naturalistic meadow plantings.

Most recent botanical and taxonomic references place heath aster in the genus Symphyotrichum (as Symphyotrichum ericoides).

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-48" / 30.5cm - 121.9cm

  • Width

    18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States, Southwestern United States, Texas, Canada, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Light Pink

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes