About Golden Aster: In 1811, botanist Thomas Nuttall collected the first known specimen of this wildflower on the Astor Expedition up the Missouri River. Nuttall, an Englishman who lived and worked in America for many years, documented many native species formerly unknown to science. The genus name Heterotheca means “different case,” alluding to this plant’s unusual characteristic of producing distinct seeds from the ray and disk flowers. The Latin species name “villosa” means “softly hairy,” a reference to the downy foliage.
Golden Aster Germination: Direct sow in the spring, pressing the tiny seeds in the surface of rich soil and sprinkling a very thin layer of soil on top; this seed needs light to germinate. Mixing the seed with a small amount of sand may help in seed distribution. Keep the soil moist until germination. To start indoors, plant the seed on the surface of the soil in a flat; keep it lightly moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination. Transplant seedlings outdoors as soon as they can safely be handled. This plant adapts well to sand or clay soil.
Growing Golden Aster Seeds: This plant prefers dry soil, though will thrive with occasional watering in periods of extended drought. It self-sows readily, and attracts butterflies and bees.
Harvesting Golden Aster: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Golden 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 Golden Aster Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Hairy False Goldenaster, Leafy Goldenaster Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer-Fall Height: 6-12 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry to Medium USDA Zone: 4a-10b Seeds Per Oz: 15,000 Produces a sprawling plant with hairy, narrow leaves and clusters of yellow aster-like flowers 1-1½” in diameter.