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In the spring of the year there are many wildflowers that grow and bloom, even before the leaves are on the trees.  Hepatica, bloodroot, toothwort, trout lilies and many other spring wild flowers are creating their magic in the garden. As the year moves on bowman's root, black cohosh, scarlet monarda, lilies and ferns put on brilliant displays. In the late summer into fall the woodland garden needs something. If you go for a hike into the woods you will see that nature has taken that into account. Beautiful woodland asters finally get to have their time.

Asters have been in the woodland all year long but bloom later in the year and take advantage of mature insects for pollination and cooler temperatures for setting seed. These asters are larval food for the Pearl Crescent butterfly and provide nectar for insects and seeds for birds in the fall.

White wood aster has bright white ray flowers and a central disc that starts out yellow and ages to a purplish red. Blue Wood Aster has blue to purple ray flowers. The color does vary and sometimes they are almost white. The Blue Wood Aster disc are yellow and fade to red. Blue wood aster flowers later than White Wood Aster and sometimes flowers into November. Both these asters have heart shaped leaves. Blue wood aster leaves are notched at the base of the lower leaves.

Blue wood asters can grow in fairly deep shade but do well in ½ day sun also. They grow in dry to moist well drained soils. Every woodland garden would benefit form the colors, textures, and habitat value of wood asters. Plant with woodland goldenrod for fall colors. Plant with early spring flowering plants such as bloodroot, trout lilies, foam flower and false solomon's seal to add color when the spring flowering plants are past their bloom period.

Symphyotrichum cordifolium - Blue wood aster

  • -Wood asters light up the woodland garden in the fall

    -Wood asters are very shade tolerant

    -Butterfly larva use wood asters for food

    -Height: 1 to 2 feet

    -Zone: 3 to 8

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