People who garden with dry shade are always on the hunt for plants that will tolerate these difficult growing conditions.
A native wildflower called white woodland aster fits all of the above, and it’s deer resistant, fragrant and drought tolerant, too.
(photo by Barry Glick)
It has distinctive heart-shaped leaves and small (up to 1 inch across) snowflake-shaped white flowers with yellow centers that fade to a rich burgundy.
It used to be known botanically as Aster divaricatus but recently its classification was changed to Eurybia divaricata. It’s an unassuming, long-blooming wildflower that typically grows in dry, open woods.
In your own garden, try it in a difficult shady corner or perhaps as a filler plant under shrubs that have gotten too leggy. With its soft cloud of flowers atop nearly black stems, white woodland aster looks particularly good poking through other plants.
“Aster divaricatus even lends itself perfectly to being used as a long-lasting cut flower,” says Barry Glick, owner of Sunshine Farm & Gardens in Renick, W.Va.
It begins to bloom in August and often lasts well into October. As the flowers begin to fade, they take on a pinkish tone.
Because it blooms in fall, when not much else is around, asters are a favorite of bees and butterflies. And songbirds appreciate the seed heads in winter.
When mature, the plants reach a height of 12 to 24 inches and about the same in width. If the plant gets leggy, cut it back in early June.
White woodland aster is not fussy about soil and will grow even in wet spots with poor drainage. Asters can be aggressive spreaders, so it may move around your yard and pop up as a volunteer in a spot to its liking. This hardy perennial can be planted well into fall.
“Aster divaricatus can be planted any time that your ground isn’t frozen,” Glick says.
For more information, visit http://www.sunfarm.com.