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Symphyotrichum ericoides

Family: Compositae

Common name: HEATH ASTER

Synonym: Aster ericoides

Native to: Central United States, Eastern United States

Sentiment: patience

Plant

Type: perennial

Forms: clumping, erect

Max height: 3.3 feet

Max width: 1 foot

Flower

secondary color present, white/off white

Leaf

green

Horticulture

Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bird, specific butterfly species

Plant part consumed by birds: seeds

Plant features: naturalizes

Exposure: sun

Landscape use: container

Propagates by: cutting, division, seed

flowers in fall

flowers in summer

Soil type: loam

USDA Zones: zone 3 -40 f, zone 4 -30 f, zone 5 to -20 f, zone 6 to -10 f, zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f

Temp. range: -40 to +30 °F

Water: regular

  • Symphyotrichum ericoides

There are 143 Symphyotrichum, or ASTER, a member of the Compositae (Aster) family family. Three perennials are cultivated: Symphyotrichum ericoides, lateriflium, and novae-angeliae. Each of these prefers regular water and attracts birds, butterflies, and bees. They offer a lot of versatility for the gardener as they flower in fall, grow in Zones 2-9, can be propagated by seed, cutting, or division, and grow to 3 ½ to 5 feet tall.

Symphyotrichum ericoides grows in Zones 3-9, 3.3' high x 1' wide, and white flowers bloom in summer and fall. It can naturalize, and be cultivated by cutting division or seed. The leaf is simple, alternate, green, lanceolate, linear, and has a pointed tip. It is native to central and eastern United States. Grow it in sun, in good soil, and try it in a container. It prefers regular water.

Numerous butterflies, listed on the left, are attracted to Compositae and include including:
Agraulis vanillae, Gulf Fritillary
Apodemia mormo, Mormon Metalmark
Callophrys nelsoni, Nelson's Hairstreak

Agraulis vanillae 3
Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant is one of 186 perennials suitable to grow in a container that will attract adult butterflies. 38 of these plants attract birds and 67 attract specific butterfly species. They can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall. 19 of these plants are drought tolerant, more than 80 are available for dry or moderate watering conditions. 29 are deciduous, while 71 are evergreen. Some can grow in Zone 2, while the others grow in Zones 3-11. 178 perennial plants that attract butterflies and can be grown in containers in Zone 9. 77 can be used as cut flowers. They come in any one of the available flower colors.

We have found that, when given a choice, butterflies and bees frequent named species more often than cultivars. You may want to keep this in mind when you select plants for your garden if your goal is to attract and support these insects.

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