Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wildflower Wednesday~Carolina Aster: Not Just Another Pinkish Face!


It Clambers, It Climbs! It's Fragrant!


Need I say more to convince you to rush to your favorite on line native nursery to get this pretty!


Ampelaster carolinianus

Not convinced yet? How about this~~ niche gardens describes it as "tough as nails". What's known so far~~ It appears happy at C&L and for that we love it! It's not a Tennessee native, but, is found happily growing in NC, SC, GA and Florida. I am sorry to say, that it's marginal in anything colder then zone 6. It's a fall blooming member of the asteraceae family with sweet scented pink lilac flowers that resemble Symphyotrichum patens flower and leaf form. What makes this aster unique is that it's the only woody perennial scandent aster in North America. (Horticulture wordsmiths already know that scandent means climbing! Here's another tidbit! This aster has a chromosomal uniqueness that places it in its own little genus and plant geneticists have had tons of fun confirming this over the last few years. They really know how to play!)

I must be honest
~~I bet you're wondering what will follow! This is Carolina's first year at C&L! She has yet to be trialed in our wet winters. Which is the true test of most plants that move here. Can they survive wet clay soil for months on end? Regular visitors know that C&L plants have to be tough. This is one reason why there are so many cedar glade endemics in the garden (here for more on them). They are tough as nails; enduring wet winters and hot, dry summers. If these are your conditions, don't despair! Cedar glade endemics can take it! Austin gardeners, you ought to be able to grow them! Go here for ideas! But, I digress, the point is that Sweet Carolina is not a cedar glade endemic.


Carolina Aster
has been described as a woody scrambling shrub, so it might be one of those plants that looks equally good climbing on a wall or romping through the border. We'll see how it grows after the winter tests it! It was happily growing in containers at Growild Nursery. My hope is that it will continue to grow well here and reach toward the 12 feet size it's purported to grow. It's planted on a trellis against a southwest facing wall. A sunny and protected spot; the former home of Carolina Jessamine, which started to grow under the roof shingles and was moved to the wayback backyard's ugly cyclone fence, but that's another story!


Bottom Line Info:

*A pretty little southeast coastal native, that might or might not survive the harsh growing conditions this garden likes to throw at plants! But, worth the trouble, if it climbs and scampers. We like climbing and scampering.

*It will grow as far south as Zone 9 and with protection as far north as Zone 6.

*While some garden centers claim it's tough as nails...It is by NO stretch of the imagination a xeric plant!

*Like all asteraceae, it attracts many pollinators looking for nectar and pollen. It's a caterpillar food plant for the American Painted Lady butterfly.

*It has a sweet honey like fragrance.

*Fall blooming until frost for all the bees and late visiting butterflies.

That's all I know folks! But, doesn't she sound like she might be worth some trouble coddling!

Gail

May I leave you with this~Pollinator shot of the day
Bumble on native aster

40 comments:

  1. Good morning dear Gail, you have once again made a great sales pitch for wildflower Wednesday! I will wait to see if it survives at your place before making the leap of faith that it can withstand the drainage of the slope here. I too had to remove the Carolin Jessamine, for the same reason. It was trying to eat the house! Maybe this guy would like to join Rosa Glauca on the trellis? :-)
    Frances
    ps hoping for no rain today, must go to Mouse Creek for weekly plant fix! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Frances, I like this plant and hope it makes it here! The trellis/wall needs some height and coverage...even though this is not evergreen the woody
    branches will certainly give winter interest...I forgot to mention they are at 90 degree angles...very interesting. I so wanted the Carolina J to work~~it did, just too well! gail

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a pretty aster...and that it is fragrant is such a bonus. I am not sure if we have it in our yard...how large is the blossom? I was noticing some kind of aster in the back part of our yard....growing through the bermuda.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love seeing this humble bumble still bumbling about your garden. Too cold here for the bumbles. This plant would probably not like it here. Too cold and wet during winter. It sounds great though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gail girl .. you have been a naughty TEASE with this plant .. I got all excited then BAM ! zone 6 and the "iffy" situation .. but that is alright .. I ran across an awesome tree to take over the spot that will be left by the exit of my poor lilac that went to lilac heaven where I hope it will be happy : )
    Nice pictures though !!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gail, it's very pretty! I would love to find a climbing Aster here... and I do hope it will survive in your garden. Looking forward to more photos next year!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hope it comes back for you Gail. A climbing aster sounds so cool! and its flower head is unique. Thanks for introducing us to it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good morning Gail. It certainly is a pretty plant. I hope it does well for you.
    Marnie

    ReplyDelete
  9. Whoa, Gail, a climbing aster! Now I've seen everything. And I love the description as "a woody scrambling shrub." Sounds like it would do just fine here on the studio trellises!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoyed your photos. This looks like a great plant! I hope it is happy in your garden. I did not know Asters could climb, thanks for the plant info!
    Rosey

    ReplyDelete
  11. Pretty neat! I'll echo Frances to see how it does in your garden first. There are probably all kinds of spots I could put it in on our hillside.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fabulous! What an amazing set of attributes! Who can have imagined?! Is the 12' for height or width! OMG! I can't believe ti's fragrant, how exciting!!! Good luck with the overwintering, hopefully tough as nails means exactly that!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This may be one worth considering for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Gail, Might I convince you to save seeds from this beauty for my seed swap (at least I think you said you were interested in participating... sorry if I'm misremembering!).

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a beautiful color of aster! We have deep purple, white, and pink here in Michigan..They grow wild in my backyard, and some at the parks..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Carlina aster sure is adorably sweet and very asteraceae! Monica...I will save seeds!

    Frances, Dave et al, I don't mind testing this cutie pie out!

    Lzyjo, It will 12 feet tall however it chooses to grow...scrambling or climbing...we'll see!

    darla, This is a Florida native, you must get her.

    Joy, I am sorry to tease...I have to revel in what we can grow, there are so many more plants that northern gardens make happy, but southern gardens kill.

    Janet, I am guessing it would grow for you!

    Lisa, if the temperatures go over 50 the bumbles will be out~~we haven't had a killing frost....yet!

    gail

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just put her on my plant list!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. She's another beauty Gail. I hope she sails thru the winter at C&L so you can "litter" the landscape with her. I need to change zones I think!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kathleen, You just might need a geographical cure! gail

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm with Joy -- although it might just just just be hardy here, if I had anywhere to offer it a place to "scand" and grow.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've grown it in upstate SC, and I used to grow it in suburban MD, in a warm micro-climate in zone 6b. Fabulous plant in both locations.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Very pretty plant. It's just as well that I can't really have it here. A person just doesn't have room for EVERYthing! ;-) And it keeps your garden unique. Have a great day, Gail.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A climbing Aster is a new one on me. It looks very pretty. Hope it survives the wet winter.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Gail....blessed are the bees....and doesn't she look beautiful on your lovely bloom.

    I do hope your plant gets through your wet and cold winter.....

    ReplyDelete
  25. It's not fair to tease us in Zone 5 & colder with such a wonderful plant. You know I'm sucker for just about any Aster.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for putting the widget on your sidebar and it looks so pretty there. It's going to help a lot of little kids have a bright holiday.

    This is a delicate little aster isn't it? It's the softest hint of lavender. I hope it will make in your garden. I've not had any luck at all with asters.

    Gail, There is a baby praying mantis on my Diet Pepsi bottle and I'm in the house. Odd isn't it? He's looking at me and me at him.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have been meaning to get this plant for years. The fragrance part seals the deal. :) If I can't get seeds from the NC Botanical Garden I'm going to get it from Niche.

    I'm guessing it will survive your winters, because I read somewhere that it's an aster that likes wet conditions.

    I love your Wildflower Wednesdays!

    ReplyDelete
  28. A great choice! I've seen them growing everywhere except in my garden (rabbits love asters).

    Cameron

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sweetbay, That is such good news...both the surviving here and that you are going to get a plant! it will love your boggy garden spots! I may be begging for a start of it from you in a few years! Glad, too, that you like WW...they are fun!

    gail

    ReplyDelete
  30. She is so very pretty and fragrant? Hard to resist.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Gail, beautiful color and I can see it climbing up my deck. It would be worth the trouble to protect it if that's what it took to get Carolina to grow here. Thanks for another delightful wildflower. 12' tall....Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Cameron, I've noticed that the rabbits have found my garden...Must be the tasty asters that brings them here! The little stinkers! Too many critters are eating our plants! gail

    ReplyDelete
  33. Impressive! And even better, this plant managed to hang on to its name. We used to have a CA Native Aster chilensis, but it's no longer an aster...

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ooh she's a beauty, keep us updated on her progress this first year in the garden. :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Pretty flowers! All mine are gone except a couple of autumn crocus.
    I noticed the Tootsies sign on your sidebar and had to laugh about the breakfast refreshments :-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gail, so good to see the bees still in your garden! I hope this aster enjoys its new home at C&L; it would look great climbing up a trellis. And, no I didn't know what scandent meant, so thanks for adding to my gardening vocabulary!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Gail,
    That is a cool plant! I've never heard of an aster getting so tall! I'm zone 5b, and once in awhile, I have zone 6 plants do OK. I'll be interested in seeing how yours does.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Indeed she's a beauty (and so are you)!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wonderful! i love fragrant blooms,and i have been debating on which fall aster to plant outside!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Gail, I finally have an opportunity to catch up on my blog reading and I'm so delighted to read this post! I saw this Aster at a nursery last weekend and was debating whether it was worth buying. I now know the answer and must hie myself out there again to get it!

    ReplyDelete

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails