Plants of the week: Fall Asters for Dry, Shady Habitats (Eurybia divaricata, Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Symphyotrichum undulatum)

First-year plants in 1.25 quart pots – 3 for $10

Symphyotrichum cordifolium

While many asters are associated with bright sunny sites, there is a wonderful group of native, perennial asters that thrive in filtered sun with dry soils.  Eurybia divaricata (white wood aster) has attractive heart-shaped leaves and delicate white flowers with yellow centers that peak in September.  With its relatively low foliage and ability to spread from the roots, this plant can make a great deciduous groundcover for shady areas.  Look for it along wooded trails in our local parks.  Symphyotrichum cordifolium (blue wood aster) also has heart-shaped leaves at the base of the plant.  But it grows a little taller than white wood aster; produces its blue/lavender flowers later (October/November); and forms clumps that do not spread as aggressively.  Symphyotrichum undulatum (wavy-leaved aster) is quite similar to blue wood aster in flower color, blooming time, and plant height.  The major difference is its very unique leaf shape that is similar to a spoon.  The relatively wide leaf tapers down near its base but then widens again to clasp the stem.  The wavy leaves also provide a little extra interest in the landscape when the plant is not blooming.

The white wood aster is likely to bloom this year and the other two species will definitely bloom this Fall.  With their late flowering period, the blue wood aster and wavy-leaved aster are especially useful to pollinators that remain active into November.  Like most asters, these species will do some volunteer seeding nearby.  And who would not welcome more of these plants?!

For more pictures and information, consult the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora ( or the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (

Due to the pandemic, sales are by pre-order only with contact-free pick-up/payment.  To order, send an email to:

The complete plant list can be viewed here:…/RCE%20Plant%20List%202020.docx…

Stay safe.


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