Symphyotrichum pilosum ‘Hayefield Variegated’ (Frost Aster) [25 Seeds]

$4.25

Germination Information: I recommend these seeds only for gardeners who have experience with seeds that benefit from or require a chilling period.

One approach is to surface-sow the seeds in a pot in fall to early winter, setting them outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a natural chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring.

If you sow after January, consider giving the pot an artificial chilling period of about 2 months.

It is also possible that these seeds could germinate (though perhaps at a less than optimal rate) if you sow them in warm, moist, bright conditions. But if you try that and no seedlings appear after a month or so, then try the artificial chilling period.

Note that this information will not be on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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Description

Several years ago, I spotted a young aster seedling with creamy yellow splashes on its green leaves here at Hayefield. I spared it when weeding and watched as the variegation followed up the shoot and into the developing flower buds. When the plant flowered in fall, with loads of small, white, yellow-centered blooms, I saw it was one of the many “little white asters” that grow wild in my meadow and show up in my garden too. (Over the last few years, I’ve determined that it’s likely to be a variant of the native frost aster [Symphyotrichum pilosum or Aster pilosus], also known as hairy white old-field aster.) The basal foliage of established clumps shows varying amounts of bright yellow splashes, with the yellow softening as the branching stems rise to between 4 to 6 feet. Will it ever win a “perennial of the year” award? No. But I think its interesting and different, and I enjoy the super-abundant bloom display in the fall garden (as do a variety of bees, butterflies, and other insects), so I decided to name the strain after my garden. Full sun to light shade; Zones 4 to 9, likely.

Please be aware that these seeds are likely to produce both variegated and non-variegated seedlings. The variegation usually shows up quite early, but it varies from plant to plant, so wait until the seedlings have 3 or 4 true leaves to make a determination. The solid-green seedlings tend to be more abundant and much more vigorous and may crowd out the variegated ones, so I recommend snipping them out of the pot as you spot them. Also, keep an eye on established plants and divide or cut out any solid-green sections or stems that appear.

2021-collected seeds sold out. I hope to collect again in late fall 2022. At least 20 seeds.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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