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Symphyotrichum patens

Phonetic Spelling
sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum PAT-ens
Description

Spreading aster is a native herbaceous perennial in the Asteraceae (daisy) family. It is found in rocky or sandy open woods and thickets.

It has graceful arching stems that reach 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Showy, fragrant blue-purple blooms appear in August and last through October, blooming after most asters are finished and providing late season nectar to pollinators.

While it prefers full sun, it does tolerate some shade.  Plant in medium to dry well-drained sandy soil.

Use it in the front of a border along a woodland edge, or mass plant in a cottage, or rock garden.  Nectar from the flowers attract butterflies and bees making it an excellent addition to a pollinator garden. Its high drought and salt tolerance make spreading aster welcome in any coastal garden. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.  Asters can have some susceptibility to powdery mildew and aster wilt. Poorly-drained clay soils and poor air circulation can contribute to this. Improving drainage and good air circulation helps reduce the incidence of foliar diseases.

 

VIDEO: Part of the Native Plant Picks series from the North Carolina Sea Grant led Coastal Landscapes Initiative.

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Tags:
#showy flowers#fall flowers#perennials#wildlife plant#purple flowers#native perennials#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#cottage garden#mass planting#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#NC native#rock garden#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#border front#flowers late summer#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#flowers early fall#flowers mid-fall#woodland garden#coastal#necatar plant mid-fall
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#fall flowers#perennials#wildlife plant#purple flowers#native perennials#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#cottage garden#mass planting#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#NC native#rock garden#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#border front#flowers late summer#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#flowers early fall#flowers mid-fall#woodland garden#coastal#necatar plant mid-fall
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Symphyotrichum
    Species:
    patens
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast USA
    Wildlife Value:
    Nectar attracts butterflies. Members of the genus Symphyotrichum support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) asteris, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) asteroides, Andrena (Cnemidandrena) hirticincta, Andrena (Cnemidandrena) nubecula, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) placata, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) simplex, and Colletes simulans.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Purplish brown ribbed achene somewhat hairy
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    more than 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Blue to violet oblong-ovate rays with disk yellow centers on solitary heads or terminal clusters.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Black
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Dentate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, alternatate, lanceolate to oblong, entire to slightly toothed or wavy, hairy. Veins visible on the undersurface. Leaf base is attached to the stem without having a stalk or peduncle (sessile).
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Erect, or ascending covered in short curved hairs, they are britle and break easily.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Salt