Symphyotrichum sericeum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: silky aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central and eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Lavender-purple with yellow center
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Easily grown in acidic, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Symphyotrichum sericeum, commonly known as silky aster or western silver aster, is a herbaceous perennial of the aster family which typically grows to 12-24” tall. It is native to dry open places in the central plains (woods, bluffs, prairies, glades) of North America primarily ranging from Michigan, Ontario, Manitoba and North Dakota south to Ohio, Missouri, Texas and New Mexico. Silky aster features a profuse bloom of daisy-like flowers (to 1.5” diameter) from late summer to early fall, each flower featuring 10-22 lavender to purple rays surrounding a yellow center. Wiry stems are clad with small pointed oblong to elliptic leaves (each to 1 1/4” long). Both the stems and the leaves are gray-green but covered with silvery-white silky hairs which give the foliage an extremely attractive appearance, hence the common name of silky aster.

It should be noted that the former genus name of Aster for this plant is still commonly used by many nurseries instead of Symphyotrichum.

Genus name comes from the Greek symph meaning coming together and trich meaning hair in possible reference to the flower anthers.

Specific epithet means silky.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to powdery mildew. Aster wilt can also be an occasional problem, particularly if plants are grown in poorly-drained clay soils.

Garden Uses

Native plant gardens, borders, cottage gardens, rock gardens or butterfly gardens. Good plant for dry open places.