Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood or Heart-leaved Aster)

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

Print Version (Legal Size): Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood or Heart-leaved Aster)

Symphyotrichum cordifolium Blue Wood or Heart-leaved Aster Perennial Height: 3–5 feet Spread: 2–3 feet Bloom Color: Blue-violet to lavender Characteristics Many branched, upright, herbaceous perennial Heart-shaped and toothed lower leaves and narrow and smaller upper leaves 1⁄2-inch, composite flowers bloom in delicate, dense clusters August to October; yellow center disks mature to purple-red Light-green to reddish brown branched stems Spreads by rhizome and self-seeding Attributes Tolerates clay, drought; sensitive to poor air circu- lation, waterlogging; no serious pests or diseases Deer occasionally to frequently severely damage Ethnobotanic uses Attracts numerous pollinators and other beneficial insects to the flowers and leafcutter bees, small mammals, and deer to the foliageGrowing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Moist, rich, well-drained Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Water Requirements: Dry, Moist Plant height (and need to stake) can be reduced by cutting back stems before mid-July Cut stems after flowering to control self-seeding It is native in DC. In DE, it is uncommon in the Piedmont and rare in the Coastal Plain. It is scattered throughout PA but mostly clustered in the southeastern and southwestern counties of the State. In VA, it is common in the mountains, frequent in the Piedmont, and infrequent to rare in the Coastal Plain. Use in butterfly and woodland gardens Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–8 Excellent Replacement forAnemone hupehensis, A. x hybrida, A. tomentosa - Japanese AnemonesAnemone vitifolia - Grape-leaved AnemoneDendranthema - Hardy Garden Mums

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets


Symphyotrichum cordifolium on with Pollinators

Watch pollinators on Symphyotrichum cordifolium in September and October as they “dance to the background music” of nature and an Arlington neighborhood. Although tiny sweat bees and mining bees can be seen flitting about in the introductory clips, they are neither included in the close-ups nor identified in the closing credits.

Video © 2017 Mary Free 

Pollinators on Asters