About Smooth Blue Aster: Unlike many varieties of aster, Smooth Blue Asters produce perfectly smooth foliage and stems. It adapts to a wide variety of environments, though it can usually be found growing in open woodland, along roadsides, or in prairies. Its bright flowers attract bees, as well as being a valuable host plant to Pearl Crescents and other butterflies. 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.
Smooth Blue Aster Germination: Direct sow the seed in late fall or early spring, planting it just under the surface 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 18-24” apart. This plant prefers well drained soil and full sun, but also tolerates shallow, rocky soil or moist areas.
Growing Smooth Blue Aster Seeds: This plant can tolerate heat and drought, but will benefit from an occasional watering in especially dry weather. Smooth Blue Asters spread by rhizomes and by reseeding, forming a colony over time if volunteer plants are not removed. These plants may need staking or support. Mature plants will benefit from division after two or three years of growth. The flowers attract bees and butterflies, and often continue blooming well after frost. Deer sometimes eat the foliage of this plant, though not to a damaging extent.
Harvesting Smooth Blue Aster: Asters make lovely cut flowers. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened.
Saving Smooth Blue 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 Smooth Blue Aster Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Smooth Aster Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Fall Height: 36-48 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Dry-Medium USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 51,500 Produces a plant with 4” narrow pointed leaves and abundant bright lavender flowers.