White wood aster is a native perennial found in the eastern U.S. and typically grows in the wild in dry open woods, clearings, roadsides and woodland edges. It forms loose clumps with dark, sprawling, sometimes zigzag stems up to 2.5′ tall. The plants provide nectar for pollinators and seeds for songbirds.
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The flowers bloom from April to the beginning of June. Clusters of lime green flowers with a disk-like bract [looks like a green collar] are borne on stems 12 to 18 inches tall. Resembling Japanese Pachysandra, the whorls of glossy dark green leaves, to 2-inches long, were mostly evergreen except for the first year after planting.
Bright yellow spider-like flowers tipped with an orange- red cap bloom April –May. The ¼ to ½ inch flowers seem to float in space on thin, arching stems. The flowers were self cleaning and did not require deadheading. May not bloom each year based on early conditions. Spring foliage is green mottled red and a slightly serrated edge. In summer the full heart-shaped leaves turn all green; sometimes with a yellow tinge moving into fall. Foliage remained attractive after bloom cycle and persisted throughout the fall and early winter.
This plant is related to Fuchsia as is evident in the trumpet shape of the flower and the attraction of hummingbirds to the plant. Orange Carpet is covered with a mass of small orange flowers for three plus weeks in July and sporadically through September. Most evaluators reported decreased flowering in each year of the three-year cycle with more foliage than flower by the third year.
‘Art’s Pride’ features beautiful orange coneflowers, 3-4 inches across, that fade to pale pink over time. Few flowers on each plant, yet they have a sweet subtle fragrance, and make great cut flowers. It blooms from late June through early August, with intermittent flowers into early fall. While the grass-green, lanceolate leaves of ‘Art’s Pride’ are not a significant ornamental feature, they are healthy all summer. The basal leaves are not densely produced.