Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic
Formerly classified as Aster cordifolius, this native, found along forest edges and ledges in the eastern half of North America, would be a welcome addition in a residential shade garden. When summer flowers are fading through mid fall, the delicate blue flowers of this prolific bloomer attract numerous pollinators.
Besides late season color, native asters provide important nourishment for pollinators, unlike non-native chrysanthemums so common in autumn gardens. Asters attract a myriad of bees, wasps, flies, and Lepidoptera. Butterflies, like monarchs and eastern tiger swallowtails, prefer larger flowered asters, like Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, while ailanthus webworm moths, and skipper, orange sulfur, American lady, and American copper butterflies also flock to asters with small flowers like Symphyotrichum cordifolium.