11 August 2011

Boltonia is Doll's Daisy, False Aster, False Chamomile, Clasping Doll's Daisy, Decurrent False Aster, Winged False Aster, Dwarf Bolton's Aster, Thousand Flowers, Snowbank, Nana, Jim Crocket, Pink Beauty, Starflower

Boltonia is a delightful flowering plant for casual garden settings. It can take some shade, needs minimal water, and blooms late summer to fall, shaking off humid nights like the native it is.

There are 8 species of this cold hardy perennial that can be started from seed. The seeds come up best if planted when temperatures are above 60, so they can be started indoors any time between fall and mid-February. The seedlings, raised over the winter, are planted out in the garden after frosts end.

All the varieties are easy to grow since they are from North America. The leaves and flowers are small on erect branches.  The plants will form clumps that have to be divided every 2 or 3 years to keep them growing. If they are not divided, they can die out.

Boltonias make good cut flowers and attract butterflies to the garden. Many Boltonia species are endangered and need to be planted by more gardeners.
Boltonia asteroides var. latisquama Nana
 
Boltonia asteroids, sometimes called False Aster or White Doll’s Daisy, is native to most of the U.S. White Doll’s Daisy thrives in average to moist ground in sun or light shade. However, its stems can become floppy if it is planted in a spot that is too shady. Has masses of white single daisy-like flowers.
Claspingleaf Doll’s Daisy, Boltonia asteroides var. decurrens is also called Decurrent False Aster and Winged False Aster. This one grows 5 to 7 feet tall, and blooms with abundant 1-inch wide, white to purplish, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. The plants have prominent decurrent foliage. This species blooms best in soil that holds moisture, and can even thrive along river banks.

Boltonia latisquama, or False Aster, is a great plant for a meadow garden. It is an Oklahoma native that can grow up to 6-feet tall. The white flowers make a show in Aug and Sept. False Aster, Boltonia asteroides recognita, is another native. The nectar and pollen attract pollinators including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, moths and beetles.

Boltonia asteroides var. latisquama Nana, grows to only 2-feet tall. You will find it listed as Dwarf Bolton’s Aster, Thousand Flowers, and False Chamomile.
A Missouri Botanical Garden Plant of Merit, Boltonia asteroides var. latisquama Snowbank, is an easy-to grow white flowering species that tolerates dry soil and full sun. Snowbank spreads by rhizomes and is divided to make more clumps. Harvested seeds will not necessarily grow identically.

Boltonia Jim Crockett is a compact form that does not need to be staked if it is grown in full sun and is not over-fertilized. It has lavender flowers with yellow centers on 2-foot tall plants.
Boltonia asteriodes var. latisquama Pink Beauty, also called Starflower, has pink flowers with yellow centers. The 4-foot tall stems may have to be staked. Also called Bolton’s Aster, this variety has a long blooming season.

You Tube has several videos in which people show the insect's ability to entertain and amuse.
 I'm not amused by their buzzing presence in our gardens.

How to grow Boltonia asteroids – Sow seeds on the surface of soil. Seeds germinate in less than 2-weeks if kept at 68-degrees.

How to grow Boltonia latisquamia – Surface sow at 68-degrees. If they do not come up in 3-weeks, move them to the refrigerator for a few weeks and bring into a warm room.
Boltonia plants are hardy from zones 4 to 8. They prefer average soil that is not over-fertilized. They grow from 2 to 4 feet wide clumps so plant them about 2 feet apart. Deer resistant.
Sources
Bowood Farms www.bowoodfarms.com has Pink Beauty plants.
Easy Wildflowers.com www.easywildflowers.com sells seeds.
Hardy Plants www.hardyplants.com has Claspingleaf Doll’s Daisy seeds.
Prairie Moon www.prairiemoon.com has False Aster seeds.
Spence Restoration Nursery has Boltonia seeds and plants www.spencenursery.com

The Boltonia asteroides var. latisquama Nana in my garden came from my generous friend Russell Studebaker, world famous horticulturist and garden writer for the Tulsa World.

 


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just bought a Jim Crockett False Aster. I will be putting it in a large planter. What do I do with it when fall/winter comes? Cut it down to the ground?

Martha Stoodley said...

Hi - You don't say where you live but I can tell you that your Jim Crocket is cold hardy to zone 4.
If you are in a warmer zone just be sure to not let it completely dry out over the winter.
You might enjoy this post from the Mass Hort Society http://www.masshort.org/In-the-Gardens-Blog/Boltonia-Jim-Crockett

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful link! I am in Virginia so I am hoping it will maintain some green for the winter.

Martha Stoodley said...

Great! Let us know how they fare in your winter weather.