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What is an Erigeron Plant?

what-is-an-erigeron-plant?

Learn more about the Erigeron plant including its characteristics, growing conditions, vital uses, and some of its species. We’ve included tips on how to grow these dainty ornamentals that are a perfect complement to any green space.

Genus Erigeron

The genus erigeron is a very large genus of plants that are very closely related to the daisy family and the aster family. Only flower fanatics would really be able to tell the different between them!

The erigeron genus is comprised of over 170 flowering plant species with varying growth habits and flower colors, though they are all highly valued for their garden merit as a dainty flower that is wonderfully easy to maintain.

More commonly known as a fleabane, the plant got this nickname because folks traditionally believed that these plants could naturally repel fleas!

The scientific term, erigeron, is derived from two ancient Greek words. The first being eri, which translates to “early in the morning” and geron, which translates to “old man”. These terms are in reference to the early blooming season, and to the fuzzy appearance of erigeron seed.

Check out our huge list of Amazing Flowering Plant Species from all over the world once you’re done learning about the erigeron genus! There you will find succulents, ornamental grasses, and many more potential additions to your green space.

Table of Contents

What do Erigeron Plants Look Like?

Depending on the species, an erigeron plant can grow to be an annual (experiencing its entire life cycle within one year), biennial (experiencing its entire life cycle with two years), or perennial (will continue to blossom year after year).

Flowers

Erigeron flowers have a classic daisy-like appearance, with many narrow flower petals surrounding a large center disc, more commonly known as ray florets.

The center disc is usually yellow, and flower petals can be anywhere from white to yellow, pink to lavender, and there are some species that even change color as they mature.

These flowers are super attractors to pollinators and other beneficial insects. The native bees of your area will thank you! They bloom in early spring and remain in bloom well into autumn.

Seed heads are small and a light brown color and have several thin hairs at one end of the seed, similar to tails. This helps the seed with both wind and water dispersal.

Leaves

The leaf shape, size, and growth pattern will vary depending on the erigeron variety as well. Erigeron basal leaves will usually exhibit a oblanceolate shape, whereas higher leaves will exhibit more of an elliptic shape. Certain leaves will also have coarse margins.

Growth Pattern

The overall form of an erigeron plant will greatly vary from species to species. There are some species that live in the alpine that will be a few inched ground cover plant, whereas others can grow to be almost a metre tall.

Erigerons will usually have many branched, erect standing stems that grow from a long and slender taproot. Stem leaves will occur either as just basal leaves, or they will grow all along the stem.

What are Some Erigeron Species?

Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron Karvinskianus)

The Mexican fleabane (or Santa Barbara daisy, as known in the United States) is a very quickly spreading evergreen perennial plant.

This prolific bloomer can be found popping flower heads in the most unusual places, like wall crevices and in cracks in sidewalks.

The Mexican fleabane will first bloom as a white flower, but it turns into a different color as it matures; usually a soft shade of yellow, pink, or purple.

Seaside Daisy (Erigeron Glaucus)

The seaside daisy can be found growing wild in well drained sandy soils along coastlines and large water bodies. They’re a wonderful perennial sunny border garden plant.

This variety only grows to be about 4 inches in height, and the lanceolate shaped leaves give off an attractive balsam scent when crushed. Lavender flowers have bright yellow center discs.

Robin’s Plantain (Erigeron Pulchellus)

Robin’s plantain, blue spring daisy, or hairy fleabane, is a species of erigeron that can be found growing wild in rich woodlands and fields, and along streams and rivers.

This variety grows to be between 12 and 18 inches in height, and long slender stems rise from dark green basal leaves. Flowers can be either blue, lavender, or white with yellow center discs.

What are Erigeron Species Native to?

Erigeron plants are a native species to both the continental United States and temperate regions of Canada. They can be found growing wild in temperate climates all around the world as well, in USDA growing zones 4 through 7.

When growing wild, they will often be found growing in dry mountainous areas, grasslands, large pastures and other open spaces, and are very common roadside plants.

How do you Propagate an Erigeron Plant?

Erigeron plants just want to grow. They are very easy to propagate and very easy to maintain as well. They are not very specific about their requirements, and surely any gardener can incorporate them into their garden.

The easiest way to start your own erigeron patch is through sowing seed. Start your seeds in a cold frame in mid spring or late spring, or simply scatter them in a stoned or paved area on your property.

Seedlings will be ready for transplantation once they are about 3 or 4 inches tall. The next step is choosing their permanent home!

Pick a Spot

Sometimes the trickiest part of planting is picking the right spot for your garden specimen. Pick an area on your property that receives full sun exposure and well drained soil.

If soil isn’t particularly well drained, simply incorporate some sandy loam or some compost. Both of these will improve drainage and also improve soil quality!

Maintain

Erigeron plants are remarkably low maintenance. Though younger plants require moist soil, once they are well established they are completely drought tolerant.

What are the Growing Conditions of Erigeron?

Soil Type

Erigeron plants can tolerate nearly any soil type as long as it is well drained. They prefer to exist in rich soil that is incorporated with plenty of organic compost. A clay soil type will be far too dense for the plant to succeed.

Water Level

Though young plants require consistently moist soil, mature plants are entirely drought tolerant. Natural precipitation should be more than sufficient to keep it happy.

Sun Exposure

Erigeron plants thrive in full sun conditions – meaning that they receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day, though they are tolerant to light shade. Partial shade in the afternoon can be helpful during hot summers to help prevent leaf scorch.

Temperature

Cold hardiness is one of the reasons why erigerons are such a popular garden plant. Once they’re planted in the ground, they will keep popping back up no matter how bitter the winter was. They can easily survive in USDA growing zones 4 through 7.

Fertilizer

Though not entirely necessary, using fertilizer on an erigeron plant can help boost their growing season, and can help promote a second blossom after they have been deadheaded.

Only provide nitrogen, liquid fertilizer during the plant’s growing season, mostly in the spring and early summer.

Pruning

An erigeron flower head can be deadheaded to promote a second blossom. Otherwise, trim the flower stems all the way down to the ground in autumn after the season is over. They will sprout back up enthusiastically into an erigeron meadow the following spring.

Intolerances

At the end of the day, there really isn’t all that much erigeron can’t handle. Even if they are totally forgotten about, there’s a solid chance that they’ll barely notice

But in an effort to keep our green friends as happy as possible, simply remember that they require well drained soil (flood intolerant) and that they receive full sun exposure (shade intolerant).

How is Erigeron Used?

Ornamental Plant

First and foremost, erigerons are used for their garden merit. They are often planted to compliment a cottage garden look, as a rock garden accent plant, and make a wonderful addition to a seaside garden.

Every cultivar can be planted as a border plant at the base of shrubs, hydrangeas, or other tall garden specimens. Incorporating an erigeron specimen will surely turn your green space into a butterfly garden.

Wildlife Ecology

Erigeron foliage and flowers are a very important source of food for the larvae of certain lepidopteran species (moth and butterfly). This is turn is helpful for the plant, as these are beneficial pollinators who will later help the species proliferate.

Medicinal Plant

The flower petals of an erigeron plant can be processed and made into an essential oil for its anti inflammatory properties that can help with joint pain and muscle pain.

FAQs

Is erigeron deer resistant?

One of the reasons why erigeron plants are such a popular garden variety is because they are lovely, easy to maintain, and they are entirely resistant to pests large and small, like rabbits and deer.

What are the damaging agents to erigeron plants?

Erigeron plants only have a few damaging agents. They are susceptible to powdery mildew if plants are growing too closely together, and they can experience leaf spots due to certain insect pests.

Are erigeron plants invasive?

Not all erigeron species are considered as being an invasive species, though erigeron annuus is a highly invasive plant in Korea. They are very aggressive proliferators and can quickly take over an area because of their low maintenance growing requirements.

Is erigeron evergreen?

Though not ever erigeron species is evergreen (foliage that remains green and persists all year long), there are many varieties that are. These species are usually native to more temperate regions that don’t experience harsh winters.

Are erigeron flowers edible?

Erigeron flowers, or fleabane flowers, though most commonly viewed as being a weed (similar to how aster, daisy, or dandelion is viewed) they are more commonly being referred to as a beneficial wild edible plant. Their flowers can actually be processed and turned into a soothing and purifying essential oil that can ingested.

Are erigeron species cold hardy?

Cold hardiness is one of the reasons why erigerons are such a popular garden plant. Once they’re planted in the ground, they will keep popping back up no matter how bitter the winter was. They can easily survive in USDA growing zones 4 through 7.

When should you divide erigeron plants?

Dividing erigeron plants in your erigeron meadow will highly benefit the plant. They can sometimes become over crowded, so dividing them every 2 to 3 years will help existing plants thrive, and will also increase the population.

What do erigeron seeds look like?

Erigeron seed heads are small and a light brown color and have several thin hairs at one end of the see, similar to tails. This helps the seed with both wind and water dispersal.

Should you deadhead erigeron flowers?

An erigeron flower head can be deadheaded to promote a second blossom. Otherwise, trim the flower stems all the way down to the ground in autumn after the season is over. They will sprout back up enthusiastically into an erigeron meadow the following spring.

Why is erigeron called fleabane?

More commonly known as a fleabane, the plant got this nickname because folks traditionally believed that these plants could naturally repel fleas!

The scientific term, erigeron, is derived from two ancient Greek words. The first being eri, which translates to “early in the morning” and geron, which translates to “old man”. These terms are in reference to the early blooming season, and to the fuzzy appearance of erigeron seed.

Will erigeron grow in clay soil?

Erigeron plants can tolerate nearly any soil type as long as it is well drained. They prefer to exist in rich soil that is incorporated with plenty of organic compost. A clay soil type will be far too dense for the plant to succeed.

Will erigeron grow in shade?

Erigeron plants thrive in full sun conditions – meaning that they receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day, though they are tolerant to light shade. Partial shade in the afternoon can be helpful during hot summers to help prevent leaf scorch.

How often should erigeron be watered?

Though young plants require consistently moist soil, mature plants are entirely drought tolerant. Natural precipitation should be more than sufficient to keep it happy.

When do erigeron flowers bloom?

Erigeron flowers have a classic daisy-like appearance, with many narrow flower petals surrounding a large center disc, more commonly known as ray florets.

The center disc is usually yellow, and flower petals can be anywhere from white to yellow, pink to lavender, and there are some species that even change color as they mature.

These flowers are super attractors to pollinators and other beneficial insects. The native bees of your area will thank you! They bloom in early spring and remain in bloom well into autumn.

How many erigeron species are there?

The erigeron genus is comprised of over 170 flowering plant species with varying growth habits and flower colors, though they are all highly valued for their garden merit as a dainty flower that is wonderfully easy to maintain.

What do you think?

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