Pictured above: Elliott’s aster (Symphyotrichum elliottii) by Ron & Diane Bynum. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.
Elliott’s aster(Symphyotrichum elliottii) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower that produces a coronet of blooms. Its compound flowers consist of many lavender ray florets surrounding yellow disk florets. Leaves are linear to lanceolate with finely serrated margins. They are alternately arranged.
Elliott’s aster typically flowers in late fall. It occurs naturally in roadsides ditches, wet flatwoods, swamps, and marshes. It is a wonderful plant for attracting butterflies, bees and other pollinators due to its many fragrant blooms.
Family: Asteraceae (Aster, daisy or composite family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida, except western Panhandle
To see where natural populations of Elliott’s aster have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 8–11
Soil: Moist, sandy, loamy or clay soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 4 feet+ tall
Propagation: Seed, division
Garden tips: Elliott’s aster works well in moist and wetland gardens and in containers. If planted in shady areas, it tends to lean or fall over, so plant in full sun for best results.
Note: Elliott’s aster suckers aggressively — it can even escape a container — so you’ll want to keep a sharp eye on it to prevent it from taking over. See Craig Heugel’s post on this species for more information on incorporating it into your home landscape.
Elliott’s aster seeds are available through the Florida Wildflower Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.
For more information on other Symphyotrichum species, see these resources: