An important late-fall food source for bees asters help new bumble bee queens build up their energy reserves prior to winter dormancy. Asters are also a late-season honey plant in our ecoregion 231? Read on.
Name: Symphyotrichum laeve
Common: Smooth Aster
Zones: 3 – 8
Size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 t0 2 feet wide
Conditions: Full sun, dry to medium water
Attracts: Asters are also specialists for many mining bees, Andrena spp., the polyester bee, Colletes simluans, and the long-horned bee, Melissodes druriella.
Asters and ex-asters of all kinds can be found in the Bee Better Teaching Garden. And rightfully so! With various ones from the shade living white wood aster, Eurybia divaricata, to the tall, imposing, Aster tataricus, asters can give a long-lasting show.
The white wood aster is one of my faves, and it’s more than the fact it can grow in shade. White wood aster is also drought tolerant. An Eastern native, we grow this at the edge of the mostly sunny border of the Mixed Border. If it spreads in the sun, it soon does back. When we see it going in this direction, we transplant it to other shady locations. White wood aster culture can take part sun, but it needs to be in the early morning hours.
Every year, the Aster tartan is a show stopper in the Teaching Garden. A must have for a sunny spot in your bird, bee, and butterfly garden in Eco Region 231!
There are many asters native to the USA. Often referred to ex-asters, since they many were removed from the aster family and into the Symphyotrichum family.
Easily grown, given the right conditions. Easily self-seeds.
Asters are host butterfly plants for the pedal crescent butterfly, Phyciodes tharos, the northern crescent, P. selenis, and the arcigera flower moth, Schinia arcigera.
The sugar content reportedly ranges from 24 to 41%.
On the scale of 0 to 5, pollen and nectar content is 2 and 2, respectively.