Erigeron philadelphicus, or Philadelphia fleabane, at the James Woodworth Prairie Preserve.
image by gmayfield10/Flickr.com
Philadelphia fleabane is a common wild plant throughout most of the United States. It is a tall, hardy biennial with many small white flowers and a fuzzy, nettle-like stem. It doesn't have any known edible or commercial uses, although Native Americans used its parts for medicinal remedies. It is also called daisy fleabane and common fleabane.
Obtain Philadelphia fleabane seeds or germination materials from a wildflower or native plant supplier. If none are available, collect them in the wild in the late summer. The plant forms dandelion-type seeds with white tufts.
Find a spot suitable for growing. Fleabane likes loose, disturbed soil and will grow best in moist conditions, although it will tolerate drier soils. Full sun or mostly sunny spots are best for Philadelphia fleabane, but it will tolerate partial sun.
Plant seeds in early spring by scattering into beds or sowing at a shallow depth of no more than 1/4 inch. They will germinate in about four weeks.
Philadelphia fleabane does not require maintenance, as it is a hardy weed. If it browns in high heat, you may want to water it to keep its appearance nicer. Otherwise, natural rainfall will be enough. It does not need any fertilizer.
If your fleabane gets out of control, cut it back by mowing or with a hand scythe, or you can pull individual plants out by the roots. Vigilance to its spread is suggested in most areas, since it will spread quickly and easily.