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Native Plant Highlight: Aromatic Aster



Alternate Names

Aromatic American Aster

Fall Aster

Wild Blue Aster

Shale Barren Aster

Aster Oblongifolius L.


Native Region:

Middle and East Tennessee


USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8


Description:

The Aromatic Aster is a fall-blooming perennial wildflower. Growing 1-3 feet tall, the aster is a bushy, low-growing plant with showy flowers. The stems are rigid and branch out from the base while the blooms are purple ray flowers will a yellow-disc center.


Conditions & Habitat:

The Aromatic Aster is highly adaptable. It grows in rocky and sandy soils, such as prairies and bluffs, as well as in moist woodland habitats. Asters perform best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade - although this can result in fewer blooms.


Planting:

Asters can be planted almost any time of the growing season. A trick for planting - sprinkle a small source of phosphorus (superphosphate or organic rock phosphate) in the hole to aid root growth. A tea­spoon or two mixed in well with the soil is all that’s needed. Once the Aster takes root and is established, not much fertilizing is needed.  Add a shovelful of compost around plants in spring for the best performance.


Uses:

Conservation - Aromatic Aster is an adaptable, easy to grow ground cover for dry, sunny locations. It is a native plant and can be part of a good wildlife seed mixture where native grasses and wildflowers are seeded together.


Ethno Botanical - A tea made from the roots of Asters hasbeen used to treat fevers.


Landscaping - Aromatic Aster creates showy mounds of blooms in fall and is excellent for native landscape gardens. Asters will grow on disturbed sites and can be used for wildlife habitat restoration.


Wildlife - Aromatic Aster is attractive to pollinators including: long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, small to medium-sized butterflies and skippers. Many kinds of insects feed on the foliage and other parts of asters, including the caterpillars of the butterfly Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and many moth species. Wild Turkey and other upland game birds eat the seeds and foliage to a limited extent. Mammalian herbivores occasionally eat the foliage of asters, even though their food value is low.

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