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!
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
May I leave you with this~Pollinator shot of the day