Botanical Name: Symphyotrichum patens
Common Name: Late Purple Aster, Spreading Aster, Spread-leaf Aster, Sky-drop Aster, Clasping Aster
Description: According to the Atlas of Florida Plants, there are 28 species of Symphyotrichum asters native to Florida. So be sure to choose by the color, height, sun/shade, and spreading capabilities of each plant to get the perfect selection for your garden.
Late Purple Aster is a Florida 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 4′ tall and 2′ 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 including butterflies. It has special value to native bees, including 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. Leaves are simple, alternate, 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). Stems are erect, or ascending covered in short curved hairs, they are brittle and break easily.
While it prefers sun or part sun, it does tolerate part 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. Its high drought and salt tolerance make spreading aster welcome in any coastal garden.
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.
Moderate salty wind and salt spray tolerance.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 8-15″ tall.
Plant Lore: Called “clasping aster” because the leaves clasp and surround the stem.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9