Symphyotrichum puniceum (Purplestem Aster) [20 Seeds]


Germination Information: There’s conflicting advice about germinating purplestem aster, so I recommend it only for gardeners who enjoy experimenting. I have not grown this species from seed myself—I just let my plants self-sow as they like—so I can only present you the options.

One approach is to surface-sow the seeds in fall to mid winter, setting the pot outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a natural chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring. (The winter-sowing technique is a good option.) If you are sowing after the optimal time, consider giving the pot an artificial chilling period of about 2 months.

I’ve read that it’s possible for these seeds to germinate if you start them in warm, moist, bright conditions. But if you try that and no seedlings appear after a month or so, then provide an artificial chilling period of about 2 months.

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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With Symphyotrichum puniceum, formerly Aster puniceus, the common names purplestem aster and swamp aster do a good job telling you something about the plant. The hairy stems, which usually reach 3 to 5 (maybe even 6) feet tall, are indeed reddish purple, and the plants do tend to grow best in moist to wet soil. Another key feature of this species is its lavender-purple flowers, which bloom in fall, in time to make a lovely complement to goldenrods (Solidago) and to provide a late source of pollen and nectar for butterflies, bees, and other insects. (In leaf, it is a host plant for several species of butterflies and moths.) Purplestem aster can be a good choice for a rain garden, a pollinator planting, or a sunny, wet meadow. The species is native to much of eastern and central North America; these seeds are from wild plants growing in my meadow in Bucks County, PA.  Full sun. Perennial; Zones 3 to 8.

2022-collected seeds are sold out. I hope to collect again in early November 2023. At least 20 seeds. PA ecotype.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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