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Climbing aster
Symphyotrichum carolinianum

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also uselful in wet spots where it can climb into trees.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A relatively common vine in freshwater swamps.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Climbing or sprawling vine or shrub-like wildflower.

Dimensions: N/A; a vine with stem to 10 feet or more in length.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Southeastern United States south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Swamps and wet thickets.

Soils: Wet to moist, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained organic or sandy soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: Lavender to bluish ray flowers.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak in fall.

Fruit: Inconspicuous achene.

Wildlife and Ecology: Nectar plant for bees, as well as monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed obtained from dried flower heads, which are broken up. Seeds can be planted or sprinkled onto the soil. Keep moist.

References: Nelson 2003

Comments: A beautiful if unorthodox component of the garden; it can be trimmed back heavily to keep the plant in control. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

Copyright by:

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

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Other data on Symphyotrichum carolinianum available from:

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