Alphabetical Plant Listing

Symphyotrichum chilense (Pacific Aster)

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


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 in 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 seed that are distributed to new locations by 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.
  • 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.

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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 Asters
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)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington
Tolerance Clay Soil, Deer, Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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John Rusk, Flickr

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.


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 Asters
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)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington
Tolerance Clay Soil, Deer, Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Asters

Guides with Asters

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