Monday, November 1, 2010
One of my favorites, which I have grown from seed is the Smooth Aster, Symphyotrichum laeve. This is a medium tall aster that grows in full to part sun and relatively dry soils. Its stems are strong enough that it does not always needed to be staked. However like many asters cutting back by 1/3 at the end of June gives a stronger, bushier plant. The flowers are usually a lavender blue measuring over 1” wide. In this photo are some freely seeded plants that show some variation in flower color. These are most commonly commercially available as the ‘Bluebird’ cultivar.
Another shade tolerant species is the White Wood Aster, Eurybia divaricata. This species also grows in dry shade, e.g. upland woods. It blooming period is later than for the big leaf aster and it can be a vigorous spreader. This photo was taken at Mount Auburn Cemetery, but they are quite common in the woods in New England.