Eurybia divaricata (syn. Aster divaricatus) 3 stars
Flower Description and Bloom Time
Plants are covered with small, 1/4-inch-wide white flowers from June through the first fall frost. Although the flowers are small, the plants were covered. Flowering was rated Good.
Foliage Interest — Color and Texture
Evaluators liked the medium to deep green foliage and dark stems (described as black, burgundy or red) that looked good throughout the growing season. Leaves are fine to medium textured, long and slender. The leaf stems (petioles) are red when first emerging. Gold fall color. Evaluators rated foliage as Good.
Habit and Growth Rate Observations
Forms a mound that becomes about 18 inches tall up to 28 inches wide. One evaluator noted that the plant spread a bit by runners.
Site Preference — Soil and Light
Grows in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Tolerates dry conditions once established.
Successes and Possible Drawbacks
Tolerates drought. Evaluators called it a nice bright spot for fall in the shade garden. Plants have a lax habit—If they get too tall they can flop. To prevent flopping, cut stems back to about 12 inches tall in early June. During heavy September rains, some leaves yellowed at one evaluation site.
Notes from Growers/Retailers
Grows very strong in spring. Plants that have one year in containers look great the first thing in spring and can be an early garden center seller. Growth regulators can severely stunt plants and are not recommended.
Asters are the backbone of many gardens in the late summer and early fall. Woodland aster is suitable for open shade gardens, woodland areas, native plant gardens or cottage gardens. The lacy texture of its leaves create a good contrast to hostas. One evaluator noted that the foliage was stunning in combination with Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ in a shaded site. In a sunnier area, the stems took on more color and paired well with Heuchera ‘Green Spice.’
Parting “SHOT” — The overall evaluation results were Good (3 stars)
Six evaluators trialed a total of 27 plants in locations from the far western suburbs, the Morton Arboretum and the northern suburbs. The evaluation site conditions ranged from clay, loam soil with good drainage; raised beds with infrequent irrigation, and, part-shade, well-drained organic soil with periodic irrigation. A dependable perennial for sites with part shade and well-drained soil.