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Erigeron

Fleabane
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials, Flowers

Free-blooming plants with daisylike flowers. Similar to closely related Michaelmas daisy (Aster novi-belgii), except that erigeron’s flower heads have threadlike rays in two or more rows rather than broader rays in a single row. White, pink, lavender, or violet flowers, usually with yellow centers. Cut back after flowering to prolong bloom. Grow best in sandy soil. Rock garden species need especially fast drainage.

Erigeron glaucus (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Erigeron glaucus (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Erigeron glaucus

Native to California and the Oregon coast. Burns in the hot sun inland. Forms a clump to 1 ft. tall and 1 1/2 ft. wide, with blue-green foliage and stems. Stout, hairy stems are topped by lavender, 1 1/2–2-in.-wide flower heads in spring, summer.

‘Sea Breeze’ has large pink flowers. ‘Arthur Menzies’ is a compact selection to 8 in. high with lavender-pink blooms. ‘Wayne Roderick’ also grows to 8 in. high, bears large lavender blooms in summer; possibly a hybrid, it is similar to E. glaucus but has larger leaves and does better in warmer areas.

Erigeron karvinskianus (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Erigeron karvinskianus (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Erigeron karvinskianus

Native to Mexico. Graceful, trailing plant grows to 10–20 in. high and 3 ft. wide. Leaves are 1 in. long, often toothed at the tips. Dainty flower heads are 3/4 in. across with numerous white or pinkish rays. Rarely out of bloom. Use as a groundcover in garden beds or large containers, in rock gardens, in hanging baskets, or on dry walls. Drought-tolerant.

Erigeron speciosus

Native to Pacific Northwest. Erect, leafy stemmed, to 2 ft. high and wide. Summer flowers are 1–1 1/2 in. across, with dark violet or lavender rays. Widespread through Rocky Mountain area is E. s. macranthus, aspen daisy, which bears three to five flowers on each stalk; stalks nod near the top. Hybrids between E. speciosus and other species are available; they have larger flowers and come in white and pink as well as blue shades. Some of the best are azure blue ‘Blue Beauty’, violet-blue ‘Darkest of All’, light violet ‘Strahlenmeer’, ‘Pink Jewel’ (with blooms in various pink shades), carmine-pink ‘Förster’s Liebling’ (‘Förster’s Darling’), and white ‘Schneewittchen’ (‘Snow White’).

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