Smooth Blue Aster (Laeve) is generally described as
a perennial forb/herb.
native to the U.S. (United States)
has its most active growth period in the
spring and summer .
Smooth Blue Aster (Laeve) has
green foliage and
purple flowers, with
a moderate amount of
conspicuous brown fruits or seeds.
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
summer and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Smooth Blue Aster (Laeve) has a
short life span relative to most other plant species and a
moderate growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
Smooth Blue Aster (Laeve) will reach up to
4 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
Smooth Blue Aster (Laeve) is usually not commercially available except under contract. It can be propagated by
bare root, seed.
It has a
slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Conservation: Smooth blue aster is used for mixed-grass and tallgrass prairie restoration as well as roadside revegetation.
Gardening: The showy flowers of smooth blue aster makes it a popular plant for use in wildflower, native plant, and butterfly gardens.
Wildlife: Smooth blue aster is palatable to white-tailed deer, which prefer to graze this species before other forbs. It has high nutritional value, decreasing with maturation. It also attracts butterflies, pollinators of the flowers, and can provide shelter for them.
General: Aster Family (Asteraceae). Smooth blue aster is a perennial forb with a stout rhizome and underground stem (caudex). Six to seven aerial stems sprout from the caudex. Plants are generally 30 to 100 cm tall. Leaves are thick and stout, 1 to 2.4 cm wide and less than 5 times as long as wide, sometimes toothed along the margins and clasped to the stem by a lobed appendage (auricle). Leaves near the inflorescence are reduced to 2 mm bracts and have diamond-shaped tips. Each plant produces several inflorescences. Ray flowers are pale blue to purple, 7 to 15 mm long. Disc flowers are yellowish. Fruit are achenes. Flowering occurs from August to October. Lower leaves drop early in the autumn while upper leaves remain until frost top-kills the plant.
Required Growing Conditions
Smooth blue aster is native to the United States. It occurs from Maine to British Columbia, south to Georgia and Arkansas, and west to New Mexico. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: Smooth blue aster occurs in various habitats, ranging from moist woods to dry, open prairies. It is most notably associated with mixed prairie plant types, and is also a dominant understory species in quaking-aspen communities.
Adaptation USDA hardiness zones for smooth blue aster are 4 to 8. Smooth blue aster occurs on various soil types. It was found to sustain more populations on wet, poorly drained glacial till in eastern Illinois and western Indiana. In Michigan it occurs on xeric sites more readily than on mesic and transitional sites. It is not tolerant of deep shade, but does well in high light to intermittent shade conditions.
Cultivation and Care
Smooth blue aster seeds are ready for collection in September when achenes separate easily from the receptacle. Dry seeds prior to cleaning and store in sealed containers at 3 to 5oC. Damp stratification at 1 to 2oC for 2.5 to 4 months may increase seed germination of higher elevation sources. Seed storage longevity is up to 7 years.
Seeds can be started in the greenhouse from December to March. Cover seeds to one times their depth with soil and lightly press down. Seeds germinate in 10 to 15 days at 22oC, reaching the true leaf stage in 7 to 15 days. Seedlings should be thinned and fertilizer can be applied biweekly once the true leaf stage has been reached. Foliage must be thoroughly rinsed off after fertilizer application. When foliage is 8 to 10 inches tall, prune plants back to 3 to 4 inches.
For the first 12 weeks, 20-10-20 liquid NPK fertilizer at 100 ppm is applied. Plants are then fertilized once with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm. After 4 weeks, seedlings can be stored in outdoor temperatures under insulating foam (if necessary) for up to 5 months before outplanting. Outplanting can take place from September to November or April to May.
General Upkeep and Control
Deer grazing does not affect survival of established smooth blue aster plants as long as only stem tips are removed. Most plants respond to grazing with vigorous growth the next growing season.
Herbicides used to control quack grass can suppress establishment or growth. These herbicides contain glyphosate, dichlobenil, picloram, tebuthiuron, and hexazinone, alone or in combination with each other.
Smooth blue aster resprouts from the rhizome after being top-killed by fire. In general, late spring fires have more adverse effects on percent plant coverage, and perhaps on leaf and flower regeneration, than early spring fires.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA