About Heath Aster: Named for their resemblance to the white heath of the moors of England, Heath Asters thrive in dry, rocky prairie ground or pasture land. Since grazing animals tend to avoid this plant and it spreads easily, it will eventually form extended colonies of attractive white bushes. Native Americans once used this plant in sweat baths, since it produced invigorating herbal steam. Originally from the Greek language, “aster” means “star.” At one time, asters were called starworts, frost flowers, or Michaelmas daisies; in spite of their daisy-like petals, asters are actually diminutive members of the sunflower family. In the language of flowers, these starry blossoms symbolize elegance or daintiness. They make a traditional gift for birthdays in the month of September, or for 20th wedding anniversaries.
Heath Aster Germination: Direct sow the seed in late fall or early spring, planting it on the surface, compressing the soil slightly, and watering it once. To start the seed indoors, sow it in a flat; keep the soil evenly moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination, which should take place within 14-20 days. Transplant the seedlings after the last frost of spring, placing them 15-18” apart. Heath Asters prefer dry and or average soil, but also adapt well to rocky, shallow soil or clay.
Growing Heath Aster Seeds: This plant tolerates heat and drought well, but will benefit from an occasional watering in especially dry weather. Heath Aster tends to spread and reseed itself, forming a colony over time if volunteer plants are not removed. Plants may need support or staking. Mature plants will benefit from division after two or three years of growth. These flowers attract bees and butterflies, and resist deer.
Harvesting Heath Aster: Asters make lovely cut flowers. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened.
Saving Heath Aster Seeds: After flowering, the plant will produce seed heads containing small clusters of seed with white fluff. Since sparrows and goldfinches love to eat the seed, harvest it promptly to avoid loss. Cut the mature seed heads, or shake them into a container to remove the seed material. Clean the seed as well as possible, then store it in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Heath Aster Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: White Heath Aster, Squarrose White Aster, White Prairie Aster, Many-flowered Aster Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Fall Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 3-9 Seeds Per Oz: 200,000 Produces a bushy plant with stiff, narrow leaves and a profusion of ½” white daisy-like flowers covering the stems.