'Frost Aster' Illinois Wildflower

'Frost Aster' Illinois Wildflower
I’ve mentioned before how much like letting weeds grow in my garden because they provide interest (free flowers) and attract beneficial insects into the garden. ‘Frost Aster’ is one such weed that I welcome in the garden because this time of year there isn’t much blooming in Chicago. Right now you can see it blooming in empty lots, alleys, parkways and probably in your own garden.

The spindly growth of a young ‘Frost Aster’ isn’t very attractive, but the sunny, yellow faces and white petals that surround them sure brighten up these boring days in the garden. Resist the urge to pull this weed from your garden at this time of the year, here’s why.

‘Frost Aster’ is one of the few Fall-blooming plants around and as a result they become an important source of forage for a number of urban bees (honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees) before winter arrives. Being a wildflower it doesn’t require much, if any, care in the garden.If you garden naturally you won’t need to spray this plant for diseases like powdery mildew. If left to grow the juvenile plants eventually fill out and make pretty decent shrubs and a nice addition to a wildflower garden.

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This is a photo of an older colony of ‘Frost Aster’ I spotted growing in an alley. In my opinion, this Aster is nicer than some of the cultivars gardeners pay good money for and plant this time of year in Chicago.The red berries you see in the picture are the fruits of nightshade, another flowering weed I let grow in the garden.

If you feel you must absolutely weed ‘Frost Aster’ from your garden think about just cutting down the foliage to remove the seeds after the blooms have been pollinated. Leaving the roots in the ground allows the plant to come back the next year without spreading seeds all over your garden.


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  • Love these flowers as well. Wild asters are beautiful, roadside or in the garden.

    swung by your images on flicker...BEAUTIFUL!! loved the berry one, leaf, and Don't Leave well done

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    Thanks, but the images in the Flickr group (to the right of this message) aren't all mine. They're member pictures, feel free to join the group and add some pictures of your Chicago garden.

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    These are native to Michigan as well, and the native plant nursery a hop, skip, and jump from my house does in fact sell them. I like how these look paired with the New England asters, too. Also love your nightshade. The berries are striking.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    P.S. Now that you've opened my eyes to these, I'm seeing them absolutely EVERYwhere, even in my own garden!
    P.P.S. My 'Black Magic' are blooming again! They look nice in a pot with pale yellow petunias that I only got because they were 25 cents. :)
    P.P.P.S. There isn't one. Psych!

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Glad you found them in your garden I was worried you were going to end up buying them from that nursery. If you need seeds LMK and I'll collect some for you. My black pansies died when I went to California.

    Have you been hitting the pixie sticks,again?

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    How the heck do you know about pixie stix? I've never mentioned them to you! Good gravy, me BUY something? HA!

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