Content Detail

Heath aster is a native prairie plant that develops neat mounds of graceful, arching flowering stems with narrow leaves and hundreds of small daisy-like white, lavender, or pink flowers in late summer.

  • Family (English) Composite
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches), Medium plant (12-24 inches), Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Road salt, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, late summer, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Blue, Pink, White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Size:

Colony-forming reaching two to three feet high.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is found in mesic to dry soil prairies, savannas, open rocky forests, pastures and along roadsides. It is native to North America. C-Value: 6

Attracts birds and other pollinators:

Heath aster attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Leaf description:

This native prairie plant has alternate, linear, leaves that are three inches long and a quarter inch wide. Its’ green hairy stems turn brown at maturity. The lower leaves tend to dry up while flowers are in bloom.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size description:

Heath aster produces hundreds of small daisy-like flowers that are half an inch in diameter with yellow disc shaped flowers and 12 white ray shaped flowers. The needle-like green bracts form on flowering stems.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It gets seeds with tufts of white hairs that aid in wind dispersal.

Plant care:

This native prairie plant likes full sun and average to dry soils. It is tolerant of loam, clay, gravelly soils and also drought tolerant once established. It’s rhizomatous roots form colonies.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance:

This native prairie plant is more resistant to powdery mildew than other asters. It is deer, rabbit, salt resistant and drought tolerant.

First Snow Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘First Snow’):

It grows 18 to 24 inches high and three to four feet wide with arching stems, narrow, linear leaves and produces densely packed white flowers.

Pink Star Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Pink Star’):

This cultivar grows two feet high and three feet wide producing light pink one inch flower clusters.

Snow Flurry Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides ‘Snow Flurry’):

This prostrate cultivar only grows four to six inches high and 24 inches wide with its stiff linear leaves and produces numerous white flowers with yellow centers.

Related species and their differences

Calico Aster or Side-flowering Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum):

This perennial grows one to three feet high with branched stems often leaning to one side which are light green to reddish stems with white hairs. It has alternate, elliptical to linear leaves, that are four and half inches long and slightly toothed. The clusters of white flowers have few petals and numerous pale yellow disk flowers.

Lady in Black Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’ ):

It has dark purple foliage producing tiny white flowers with rosy centers that appear in dense, branching sprays in late summer to early autumn on rigid, purplish stems.

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