A robust family of low growing annuals, biennials and perennials, which thrive in sunny borders or rockeries. The attractive grey-green leaves and daisy-like flowers add a blanket of colour all summer long.
Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Erigeron
Common Names: Fleabane, Beach Aster
Foliage: Evergreen, simple, grey-green leaves.
Flowers: Rayed daisy-like flowers with a central yellow disc. Single or semi-double. Long flowering season.
Flowering Period: Summer.
Soil: Moist but well-drained, moderately fertile soil. (chalk, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Full sun or light shade. Plant in a west or south facing aspect.
Habit: Bushy, low growing.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Origin: Worldwide distribution, particularly North America.
Hardiness: Most varieties are hardy the UK.
Plant in an open sunny site, in a light, moist but well drained poor soil. Not suitable for cold heavy soils and waterlogged conditions. Plants grown in poor soils will be more compact.
The hardy strains will grow virtually anywhere, in borders, crevices in paving, dry walls, rock gardens and scree. The herbaceous hybrid forms are particularly useful for the front of the border. There are also a few dwarf species that suit the rockery.
A useful plant for coastal regions.
Tall stemmed varieties make excellent cut flowers.
All varieties of Erigeron are long flowering, sun-loving plants that are very easy to grow.
Provide shelter in very cold regions for semi-tender forms. In a severe winters the top growth may be killed off, but new growth should reappear in spring.
Cut the old flower stems down to ground level in the autumn.
Generally pest and disease free.
Increase from seed or divide established clumps in winter or spring. Stem cuttings can also be taken in spring.
Several good garden varieties are available, including:
Erigeron aureus (Canary Bird) a dwarf form with golden flowers from June to July. Height 4in, spread 9in.
Erigeron aurantiacus is a low growing mat-forming perennial with oblong, soft, grey-green leaves. The flowers appear deep orange-yellow on erect leafy stems in June-August. Height and spread to 12in (30cm).
Erigeron glaucus (seaside daisy) is a vigorous low growing mat forming perennial with greyish green leaves. Flowers on short erect stems in lilac, pink or mauve, with yellow centre from April to October. Grows well in coastal gardens (not hardy in very cold regions). Height 1ft (30cm), spread 2ft (60cm).
Erigeron speciosus is an attractive bushy perennial with loosely erect leafy stems, which bear a profusion of pale lilac daisy-like flowers, up to 3in (75mm) across, in July-September. Height and spread 2ft (60cm). Good garden hybrids, include 'Azure Fairy' which bears semi-double lavender-blue aster-like flowers with golden yellow centers. Available from Gardening Express.
Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican Fleabane) is often found growing wild in milder regions of the UK, flourishing in nooks, crevices and cracks in walls. Free flowering from June to September. The small daisy-like blooms darken from white to deep pink with age. Height 8in (20cm), spread 24in (60cm). Available from Gardening Express, You Garden.
Erigeron 'Stallone' a hardy perennial that produces small, two-toned, daisy-like blooms from May to July. Good self seeder. Excellent ground cover. Height to 12in (30cm), spread to 39in (100cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.