A beautiful wood-aster with very large (4-8 in. wide), heart-shaped, basal leaves – ideal for use as a groundcover in the shade! Stems are often purplish. Violet to pale blue to white flowers with golden centers occur in open clusters.
E. macrophylla is one of the earliest woodland asters to bloom. The large basal leaves of this aster are very conspicuous during the spring. During autumn, big-leaved aster resembles many other woodland asters and it is more difficult to identify.
Tolerates deep shade but blooms best in light to partial shade. Grows best in moist, humus-rich soil but tolerate dry conditions too. Despite the adaptability to shade, will produce the best flower displays when given morning sun.
Spreads by rhizomes and self-seeding to form colonies in optimum growing conditions.
Attracts bees, birds, butterflies. Larval host to pearl crescent.
E. macrophylla and E. divaricata are similar and sometimes confused with each other. E. macrophylla has more ray flowers (9-20) that are at least tinted with purple and leaves are produced separate from the flowering stem. E. divaricata has white flowers (no tint of lilac), flowerheads with fewer ray florets (about 5-10), its peduncles and pedicels usually have non-glandular hairs, and its basal leaves are smaller in size. E. divaricate does not produce leaves separate from the flowering stem.
Height: 2-4 ft.
Spread: 2-4 ft.
Bloom time: September to October
Sun: part shade to full shade
Deer and rabbit resistant
photo credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz