Fleabane and aster are relatively easy to confuse with each other, as they often look pretty similar and in fact, they were once considered the same plant! However, there are a good few differences between these two plants, when you start to look into them! We’re going to work out fleabane vs aster, once and for all.
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Fleabane Vs Aster
There are a good few differences between fleabane and aster, despite the fact that they are from the same family:
- They are different colors. Asters are generally a lilac color, while fleabane’s flowers are usually white (although there is a lot of variation in the flowers, even on one plant).
- Fleabane flowers during the mid to late spring, while asters usually bloom in the late summer to early autumn.
- The flowers are different shapes. Fleabane’s petals are tiny and thin, and there are lots of them! Aster has bigger, more widely spaced petals.
- The Phyllaries (leaves that surround the underside of the flower) of a fleabane are regularly spaced, like a picket fence, while aster’s are overlapping.
- Fleabane has hairy leaves and stems, while aster’s leaves are sticky as well as hairy.
- Aster blooms later than fleabane, and usually has a shorter flowering time (although this can vary due to the weather and growing conditions).
- Fleabane is considered an edible plant, either raw or cooked, while aster tends to be used in Chinese medicine – although the flowers and young leaves can be eaten.
- Aster is a fairly easygoing plant, while fleabane can be tricky to get rid of once it has gained a foothold.
- Fleabanes are drought tolerant, whereas aster likes to be kept on the moist side in order to grow well.
Both aster and fleabane are fantastic food for all sorts of pollinators, and as such they are a great plant to have in your garden!
We can’t tell you which of these plants is best – it’s up to you to decide which to grow. Or, why not have both?
Here is a video which explains the key differences between these two plants – in song form, just for fun!
Is Fleabane Easy To Grow?
This little plant, you may be happy to know, is incredibly easy to grow and care for – in fact, it needs very little attention at all!
All you need to do is scatter a few seeds, and you will be rewarded with those characteristic flowers in no time.
Fleabane doesn’t need feeding or even watering all that much – it can survive in a huge variety of different conditions, and it is very forgiving.
All you need to do is keep an eye on it during prolonged hot periods, and give it a drink if it is looking dry.
You don’t even need to deadhead! Just cut the plant back at the end of the growing season to prevent it from growing back leggy and straggly.
Fleabane doesn’t mind poor soil; in fact it quite likes soil that does not contain too many nutrients.
Fleabane will pop up year after year, and although it may try to spread you can control this by removing some of the new growth.
Is Aster Easy To Grow?
Aster, like fleabane, is a very easygoing plant that needs very little input from you in order to grow and thrive.
One difference between this and fleabane is that aster will need to be kept more moist – it won’t appreciate being too soggy, but it does like a drink.
As long as you have well draining soil that can be kept damp enough, your asters will be happy!
If you are growing your asters in pots then you may have to add a little fertilizer, but when growing in garden soil they generally won’t need feeding.
These pretty little plants are easy to propagate – if they haven’t already self seeded in your garden – so you can have a pretty bed in no time at all.
You won’t have to worry about deadheading, or cutting back your aster – it is perfectly happy being left to its own devices.
However, if you have the time and inclination, deadheading your aster may well encourage more flower growth, and keep them flowering for longer.
Asters, like fleabane, are perennial, meaning that they will pop up year after year, so you can always enjoy a splash of color in your garden.
This useful article will take you through everything you need to know about growing asters.
Which Is Better Aster Or Fleabane?
The answer to this question depends mainly on your personal preference – which plant do YOU like best?
That being said, there are benefits and downsides to both plants – one needs a little more maintenance, the other is tricky to get rid of once it is established!
Both these plants are easy to grow and low maintenance, and they will add a lovely splash of color to your garden.
Fleabane in particular is good at thriving in poor soil and requires little water, making it ideal for those with gardens that other plants don’t like so much.
Aster will need a little more water, but it too is pretty tolerant of most conditions and doesn’t need much fussing.
Both these plants will attract pollinators, making them both ideal choices for planting in your garden to increase pollination for all your plants.
If you have both aster and fleabane, you may well find that your garden looks brighter for longer, thanks to their different blooming times.
Hopefully now you can see that there are a good few differences between fleabane and aster, both in their looks and their growing preferences.
If you love them both and you have room for them, why not grow both? If you have read through our lists and decided that you like one more than the other – that’s fine too. After all, it’s your garden!