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Publication #FPS55

Aster laevis Smooth Aster1

Edward F. Gilman and David Marshall2

Introduction

Aster laevis is a sturdy branching perennial that reaches a height of 6 to 18 inches. The grey-silver leaves of smooth aster have a fine texture, and light blue daisy-like flowers appear on the plant in the late spring, summer, and fall. The smooth aster is not especially showy but has been proven to be reliable.

General Information

Scientific name: Aster laevis
Pronunciation: ASS-ter LEE-viss
Common name(s): smooth aster
Family: Compositaceae
Plant type: herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 4B through 9A (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: mass planting; edging; attracts butterflies; cut flowers
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 1. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: symmetrical habit with a regular (or smooth) outline and individuals having more or less identical forms
Growth rate: fast
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: lavender
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; fall flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: white
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

The flowers of smooth aster can be cut for flower arrangements, as they last several days indoors. The plant performs well as an edging in the landscape or in a group planting. It makes a nice component in a mixed border.

This perennial requires full sun and a well-drained soil. Aster laevis is drought tolerant.

Smooth aster is propagated by softwood cuttings or by division.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS55, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and David Marshall, agricultural Extension agent and program leader, UF/IFAS Extension Leon County; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.