Heart Leaved Aster, Aster cordifolius

Heart Leaved Aster

Aster cordifolius

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Blue
Fragrance: No
Height: 2 - 3 feet
Spacing: 1 foot


Description

Heart Leaved Aster (Aster cordifolius) or Blue Wood Aster is a somewhat weedy, herbaceous perennial that is native to rich, dry to moist woodlands, forest margins, fields, dry meadows, bluff bases and stream banks. It is a stout, leafy plant that typically grows on smooth, branched, upright-arching stems to 2-5 feet tall. Stems are topped by dense, small-leaved panicles of daisy-like asters (each flower to 3/4” diameter) which bloom late summer to fall (late August to October). Flowers feature pale blue to rich blue rays and yellow centers. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. Leaves are sharply-toothed, with the lower ones being heart-shaped hence the specific epithet and common name references to heart-shaped leaves. The upper leaves are smaller and more ovate.

Easily grown in average, dry to moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Usually found in part shade locations. Pinching back stems several times before mid-July will help control plant height, promote bushiness and perhaps obviate the need for staking. Easily grown from seed and often abundantly self-seeds in the garden if not deadheaded. During hot dry weather, the lower leaves may wilt and fall off. Plant size is variable depending on the fertility of the soil and moisture conditions. Plants that are grown in shade will produce smaller panicles of flowers than those that are grown in more sunlight.

Habitats include moist to dry deciduous woodlands, woodland borders, areas adjacent to woodland paths, thinly wooded bluffs, shaded areas along streambanks, and rocky wooded slopes. Some disturbance is beneficial in heavily wooded areas if it reduces excessive shade from overhead canopy trees or excessive competition from shrubs.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Tolerates shady conditions well.
  Prefers moist, rich soils, but avoid consistent moisture.
  Good air circulation helps reduce incidence of foliar diseases.
  Plants may be cut to the ground after flowering to prevent unwanted self-seeding.
Further Information

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