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Symphyotrichum pilosum

Phonetic Spelling
sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum pil-OH-sum
Description

Frost aster is a native herbaceous perennial in the Asteraceae (daisy) family that may grow up to 4 feet tall and wide. One of its common names old field aster comes from its tendency to grow rapidly in disturbed sites. 

Frost aster prefers full sun and grows well in wet or dry conditions and in rocky or sandy soils.

The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin. Both the stem and leaves are covered with fine hairs. The roots are fibrous and form a woody crown. Showy delicate, white flowers daisy-ike with a yellow center first mature in late summer and persist into late fall providing a seed source to song birds over the winter.  

Because this plant attracts polliantors like butterflies and bees, and the seeds provide a food source for birds and small mammals through the fall and winter this plant makes an exellent addtion to a pollinator or winter garden.  

Seasons of Interest: 

     Blooms: Late Summer/Fall; Fruit/Seed/Nut: Winter

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. It is considered weedy in most of the eastern U.S. 

 

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

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#fall flowers#perennials#white flowers#weeds#wildlife plant#weedy#native perennials#nectar plant#native bees#small mammals#specialized bees#food source wildlife#fast growing#highly beneficial coastal plants#NC native#herb garden culinary#native garden#disturbed areas#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#delicate flowers#larval host plant#lawn weed#hairy stems#native weed#perennial weeds#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#winter fruits#coastal plant#food source winter
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#fall flowers#perennials#white flowers#weeds#wildlife plant#weedy#native perennials#nectar plant#native bees#small mammals#specialized bees#food source wildlife#fast growing#highly beneficial coastal plants#NC native#herb garden culinary#native garden#disturbed areas#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#delicate flowers#larval host plant#lawn weed#hairy stems#native weed#perennial weeds#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#winter fruits#coastal plant#food source winter
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Symphyotrichum
    Species:
    pilosum
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for the Pearl Crescent butterfly. Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. Songbirds and small mammals eat the seeds. 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.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderately deer resistant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Dry seed (achene) matures in late fall and persists in the winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small, white daisy-like flowers 1/2"-3/4" wide cover the top of the plant on the end of stems. Blooms appear late September through November on 4-foot stems. Yellow disk flowers are surrounded by 16-25 white ray flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate with a smooth margin green above gray below, hairy on the edges and petioles.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Erect, many branches, smooth or with long soft hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy