Friday, October 30, 2015

Georgia Aster

Symphyotrichum georgianum, is easily one of the latest flowering perennials in the temperate US. Both a failing and a highlight of this species is that they start blooming right after the trees have dropped a lot of their leaves. Goldenrod and other Asters are all usually past the half way mark in their bloom by the time this species even starts to flower. So a lot of the plant be beneath a pile of leaves leaving mostly just the flowers poking up among the fall color.

This is also an endangered species in the wild but nurseries are easily able to propagate it by seeds and cuttings, as I intend to do with the few plants I have in my yard.

The flowers themselves are a bit on the scraggly side but the overall size as well as the individually long florets in each flower disk makes them quite attractive.

As far as ecological benefits go, you're probably not missing much by having this species in your garden. While they are restricted to a few populations in the state of Georgia, the species is hardy from zones 5 to 9. The plants in my yard are really just prolonging the the lives of a few male bumblebees another week or two.

Older specimens can be quite floriferous, turning more bush-like, similar to but not quite like Aromatic Aster, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium. If you're going for a low bushy boarder of flowers though you should probably just plant S. oblongifolium, and really unless you have a nice population of New England Asters going, there isn't much reason to plant Georgia Aster. Everything that is going to over winter is pretty well fed already. But if you're still looking for something that flowers this late in the year then by all means give S. georgianum a try.