About Bigelow's Aster: This desert wildflower was named in honor of Jacob Bigelow, a noted professor of botany at Harvard University in the early nineteenth century. The genus name Machaeranthera comes from the Latin words for “sword” and “anther,” referring to the shape of this flower’s reproductive structures. These blossoms provide valuable nectar for Field Crescentspot butterflies, which can be found in the mountains of the west.
Bigelow's Aster Germination: Direct sow the seed in late fall, planting it on the surface. If direct sown in the spring, the seed must be stratified first by mixing it with moist sand and stored in the refrigerator for 60 days. Germination usually takes place within 14-21 days.
Growing Bigelow's Aster Seeds: Keep seedlings watered until they become established. Mature plants are extremely drought tolerant and will not need watering. This plant provides erosion protection, competes well with weeds, and attracts butterflies.
Harvesting Bigelow's Aster: For cut flowers, choose stems with flowers that have just opened. Strip the foliage that will fall below the water level, and place in water immediately.
Saving Bigelow's 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 Bigelow's Aster Info: Origin: US Native Wildflower Other Common Names: Bigelow's Aster, Tansy Aster, Sticky Aster Duration: Biennial Bloom Time: Summer to Fall Height: 18-30 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry to Medium USDA Zone: 5a-10a Seeds Per Oz: 83,000 Produces a plant with narrow, dark green leaves and 1 1/2” lavender flowers.