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Symphyotrichum chilense (Pacific Aster)

Common California Aster, Pacific Aster, Coast Aster, Aster chilensis

Symphyotrichum chilense, Common California Aster, Pacific Aster, Aster chilensis, Fall perennials, Fall Flowers, Purple Asters
Symphyotrichum chilense, Common California Aster, Pacific Aster, Aster chilensis, Fall perennials, Fall Flowers, Purple Asters

A late-season food source for all kinds of pollinators, Symphyotrichum chilense (Pacific Aster) is a rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial boasting one to many ascending or erect stems smothered by sprays of star-like flowers from mid-summer to fall. Borne in open, branched clusters, each blossom features violet to pink or white ray flowers surrounding a center disc packed with yellow disc flowers. The disk flowers change from yellow to reddish with age. The blossoms are pollinated by bees and butterflies. They are followed by prolific amounts of wind-born seeds that are distributed to new locations by the wind. The stems are clad with alternate, narrowly oval leaves, 1-4 in. long (2-10 cm), which decrease in size as they ascend the stems. The usually hairless, basal leaves, 1-8 in. long (2-20 cm), wither by the time the plant flowers. Found in coastal regions from southwest British Columbia to Southern California at elevations below 1600 ft., Pacific Aster is easy to grow, low maintenance and is not affected by any serious pests or diseases. Under optimal conditions (full sun and moist, well-drained soil), Pacific aster can develop long, vigorous rhizomes that allow the plants to spread into thick clumps that may outcompete weaker neighboring plants. Its deep, extensive, fibrous root system can help stabilize slopes. Pacific aster can also be used in wildlife or pollinator enhancement plantings, native prairie restoration, meadow gardens, and erosion control. Providing a critical pollen source for bees in the fall, Pacific Aster also serves as a nectar source and host plant for checkerspot and crescent butterflies.

  • Grows up to1-4 ft. tall (30-120 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm).
  • Thrives in full sun or part shade in fine to medium textured, well-drained soils. Pacific Aster generally does not require watering or fertilization once established. Tolerates high salinity, drought, and clay soil.
  • A vital ingredient of late summer and fall native plant gardens, coastal gardens, or butterfly gardens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Cut back in early spring to encourage bushiness. Cut back to the ground in winter.
  • Once established, Pacific Aster plants can be difficult to completely remove from an area.
  • Propagation by seed (no treatment), by division of the rhizome or root crown in early spring.
  • Native to California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

Requirements

Hardiness 6 - 10
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Aster
Common names Aster
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 4'
(30cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Pacific Northwest, California, Washington, Oregon
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Clay Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Symphyotrichum leave ‘Bluebird’ (Smooth Aster)
Ampelaster carolinianus (Climbing Aster)
Aster novi-belgii (New York Aster)
Doellingeria umbellata (Flat-Topped White Aster)
Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (White Panicle Aster)
Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy Aster)

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Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster)
Aster novi-belgii (New York Aster)
Aster amellus (Italian Aster)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 6 - 10
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Aster
Common names Aster
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 4'
(30cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 3'
(60cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Pacific Northwest, California, Washington, Oregon
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Salt, Clay Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Aster
Guides with
Aster
Not sure which Aster to pick?
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