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Friday, November 28, 2014

Flower Friday: Skip the crowded malls and head out to a wetland to see climbing aster in bloom!

Photo by Mary Keim
Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum)
Climbing aster is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like blooms. Its ray florets vary in color from lavender to pinkish or even bluish; disk florets are yellow to reddish-orange. Its leaves are alternately arranged and elliptical- to lanceolate-shaped with entire margins. Climbing aster is a profuse bloomer.

Climbing aster occurs naturally in floodplain swamps and marshes, in coastal hammocks and wet pine flatwoods, and along riverbanks and lake edges. It typically flowers in late fall and is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.


Climbing aster in bloom along Wekiva River
Photo by Lisa Roberts
Family
: Asteraceae
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8-11)
Soil: Moist to saturated soil
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 10+ feet
Garden tips: Climbing aster is a showy plant that is adaptable to a variety of conditions. Its sprawling nature can appear messy and it may require effort to keep it under control. It is best for an informal or naturalized landscape. It also works well on a trellis or fence.

Climbing aster is usually available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where climbing aster occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3150.

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