Plant Spotlight On Swamp Aster

Swamp Asters resemble a New England Aster, but are a North American native that tolerates heavy moisture and is a pollinator favorite. Growth on reddish hairy stems is tall and spectacular, so it is well placed at the back of the border or in a native wildflower garden. Also found in wetland margins, meadows, fields, and the shores of rivers or lakes, the Swamp Aster makes an excellent water sponge in a rain garden.

swamp aster

All About the Swamp Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Also known as: Glossy-leaved aster, Aster puniceus, Purplestem Aster, Red-stalk aster, Red-stemmed aster, Early purple aster, Meadow scabish

Plant Description: Hairy-stemmed aster with glossy green leaves that can grow between 2 to 8 inches long. Branching clusters support the blooms which are prolific violet-to-lavender daisy-like flower with yellow centers. Excellent rain garden and moisture seeking perennial. Attracts butterflies in droves. Fall colors can lean towards purple.

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial

Sun/Shade: Full sun

Cultivation: Grows particularly well in average to wet soils which are well-drained and organically rich. Native that self-seeds readily and will spread significantly. Is often pulled out in spring as a “weed” because the plant takes a long time to flower. Be sure to mark these perennials to prevent early pulling. Seeds are distributed after bloom in late summer or early fall.

Height: 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4meters)

Width: 2 to 3 feet (.60 to .91 meters)

Bloom: Violet with yellow centers, sometimes white

Bloom Time: Late summer

Origin: Eastern North America

Zones: zone 2, zone 3, zone 4, zone 5, zone 6, zone 7, zone 8, zone 9

Wildlife: Butterflies, honeybees, bumblebees, wasps, bee flies, skippers, moths

Landscape Uses: Rain garden, river and pond borders, naturalized gardens, mixed beds and borers, fall flowering gardens, back of the border, butterfly gardens, pollinator landscapes

Special Features: Great late-season back-of-the-border bloomer with spectacular blooms that last nearly two months.

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