Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Blue Wood Aster, Blue Heart-leaved Aster, Starwort
Symphyotrichum cordifolium

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Symphyotrichum (sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum) (Info)
Species: cordifolium (kor-di-FOH-lee-um) (Info)

Synonym:Aster cordifolius
Synonym:Aster finkii
Synonym:Aster lowrieanus
Synonym:Aster plumarius
Synonym:Aster sagittifolius

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Light Blue
Medium Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Oct 6, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It makes a lovely mass of small aster or fleabane-like flowers of pale blue or white with a bluish tint. Very similar to the White Wood Aster, S. divaricatus, that is also nice. This species can grow in full sun, where it has more flowers in display and less leaf showing above. It should be able to grow in slightly alkaline soils too, not just acid ones.

Neutral coriaceous On Feb 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Hardy at least to Z3.

This species can grow and flower fairly well in heavy shade and in difficult dry shade, and it can be a useful plant under those conditions---especially since it blooms in autumn. I've never seen it grow more than 3-4' tall. The flowers are small (1/2") but profuse, and in flower this plant is fine-textured. The flowers are useful in cut flower arrangements.

It's native and commonly grows wild around here. A common weed of urban wasteland, especially in the shade of Ailanthus trees and Norway Maples, it self-sows here with enthusiasm. Seedlings are generally hard to remove without a trowel unless the soil is very well prepared. I generally treat it as a weed, as do most gardeners around here.

Despite the common name, flowers are usually white with only a faint bluish tinge (really bluish violet rather than blue, but so faint it's hard to tell), the color of skim milk. I often see some variation in the amount of blue-violet tinting, but I've never seen any that could be described as "medium blue". I hope some enterprising plant breeder will develop a form with a more saturated blue-violet flower color. I occasionally see a pure white form, and I find it more desirable than the skim-milk color, especially since it stands out better in the shade.

Aster 'Little Carlow' is usually listed as A. cordifolius, but it's a hybrid between A. cordifolius and A. novi-belgii.

Compared with A. divaricatus, A. cordifolius is slightly later blooming, taller, more upright, with flowers that are smaller individually but often more profusely borne. I find it more attractive.

Positive plant_it On Jun 3, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Native to North America, plant this with spring blooming flowers to provide extended color and interest in the woodland garden well into autumn. It creeps by rootstocks to form a nice patch. Prefers part shade but can grow in shade. Distinctive heart-shaped leaves.

Negative poppysue On Jan 22, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This aster grows wild around my property and to be honest, its self-seeding is quite a nuisance. It also spreads by runners and doesn't seem to be too fussy about the soil it weasels into. It prefers a little shade and the plants grow larger and more robust with adequate moisture. Hybrids on the market might be better behaved but this wild species should be confined to the wildflower garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gainesville, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Valparaiso, Indiana
Louisville, Kentucky
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Florence, Mississippi
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Clyde, North Carolina
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Malvern, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Nashville, Tennessee
Leesburg, Virginia

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