Bluebird aster (Symphyotrichum leave 'Bluebird') is a top selection of U.S. native smooth aster. Bluebird was found in 1988 in a Guilford, Connecticut garden and introduced by Dr. Richard Lighty who at the time was working at Mt. Cuba Center in Greenville, DE in 1994. This tall, vase-shaped wildflower produces large 1 inch wide violet blue flowers on 3-4 feet tall stems. It has attractive, slightly glossy, blue-green foliage that is highly disease- and pest-free.
Bluebird smooth aster thrives in full sun to light shade with a broad tolerance of soil types and moisture levels. Bluebird aster will grow and bloom in part shade, but flower count will be less. In 2016 Bluebird aster was ranked as the #1 aster in an evaluation study at Mt. Cuba Center.
Spring-summer care tip: Prune off old growth from last fall and feed with 10-10-10 or equivalent granular fertilizer. Supplement with water-soluble Miracle-Gro once in mid-summer. Pinch back the young shoots in June for develop a dense plant habit and more flower buds. If left alone, the plant gets too tall and require staking in late summer as flower buds are setting up.
Bluebird aster is a great nectar source for migrating monarch and other late season butterflies.