Heath Aster


  • USDA Zones 3 to 9 (Find Your Zone)
  • 1 to 3 Feet Tall, 1 to 2 Feet Spread
  • Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Showy Flowers
  • Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Beneficial Wasps, Flies, Skippers and Small Butterflies
  • Host Plant for Silver Checkerspot and Pearl Crescent Butterflies
  • Tolerant of Drought, Dry Soil, Clay or Rocky Soil


Heath Aster, Symphyotrichum ericoides, is one of the longest lived native asters, found naturally in prairies, open dry rocky forests, limestone glades, and intermittently along roadsides, railroads and in pastures. Blooming late summer into fall, August – October, small white flowers are arranged in larger heads resembling a single, radially symmetrical flower cupped by a ring of green bracts. Thriving on dry sand and gravel soils, Heath Aster slowly forms nice patches by rhizomes, spreading slowly to form colonies, especially in disturbed areas. To encourage density, plants can be cut back to 6″ in late spring, which encourage the compact, bushy form this species is known for. Plant reach 1-3′ in height with a 1-2′ spread. There are numerous needle-like bracts on the flowering stems, giving the plant its heath-like appearance and common name. An array of pollinators are attracted to the small white blooms, including long-toothed bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, leaf-cutting bees, and an array of beneficial wasps; it is also the host plant for the Silver Checkerspot and Pearl Crescent butterflies.

Photo: Illinois Wildflowers

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