Erigerons, also known as fleabane, are low-growing, clump-forming plants grown for their pretty, daisy-like flowers. There are many varieties, but the most widely grown is Erigeron karvinskianus, or Mexican fleabane, which bears masses of small flowers over a very long period, often from May to the frosts in autumn. The flowers start out white, then turn pink as they age. It's native to Mexico and Central America but grows well in dry, sunny spots in UK gardens.
Erigeron glaucus, also known as seaside fleabane, beach aster, or seaside daisy, has larger, pink flowers and is a common sight in coastal gardens.
Erigerons are versatile, easygoing and low maintenance plants. They have a softening effect on hard landscaping – Erigeron karvinskianus was planted in the concrete terraces of the Estadio Azteca football stadium built in for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico City.
Erigerons are popular with bees, butterflies and other pollinators and self seed readily. Erigeron karvinskianus (often sold as Erigeron karvinskianus 'Profusion) holds the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.
How to grow erigeron
Grow erigeron in any well drained soil, in sun or partial shade – avoid poorly drained, wet soils. Most don't need deadheading. Cut back straggly stems at the end of the season.
More on growing erigeron:
Erigeron: jump links
- Planting erigeron
- Caring for erigeron
- Propagating erigeron
- Growing erigeron: problem-solving
- Buying erigeron
- Best erigeron to grow
Where to grow erigeron
Grow erigeron in sun or partial shade in any well-drained soil. It can be grown as edging in a border, in a gravel garden, or in a coastal garden. It also grows well in pots, where it spills out over the edge. It looks lovely creeping down the sides of stone or brick steps or tucked in wall crevices, where it both seeds itself and spreads slowly via its rhizomatous roots.
How to plant erigeron
If your soil is heavy, improve drainage by adding some horticultural grit to the planting hole.
Caring for erigeron
Very little care is needed for erigerons – they are reasonably drought tolerant and generally look after themselves. There's no need to deadhead. Cut back at the end of the season if plants are looking straggly.
How to propagate erigeron
Most erigerons self-seed readily, so you may find you don't need to propagate them. However, they are easily raised from seed in a cold frame in spring. You could also scatter seeds in the cracks between paving stones or mix them with a little clay before pressing them into hollowed mortar joints in walls.
You can also divide erigeron in spring. You may find that the plants look unhappy for a while, but they will perk up in a few days.
Growing erigeron: problem solving
Erigerons are largely pest- and disease-free. The only problem you may encounter is that plants may die off after a very cold, wet winter if they're planted in heavy soil. Avoid this by adding plenty of horticultural grit when planting, and avoid very wet spots.
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Advice on buying erigeron
- Check that you have the right conditions to grow erigerons – they do best in well drained soil and a sunny spot
- If you want to grow erigeron in cracks in paving or walls, or want to grow a lot of plants, it is best to grow from seed
Where to buy erigeron online
Varieties of erigeron to grow
Erigeron glaucus 'Sea Breeze'
Beach aster bears lavender-pink, semi-double, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres, set against blue-grey foliage. It's tolerant of salty coastal winds and is the perfect choice for a seaside garden. It also looks good in pots or at the front of a border or tucked into crevices in walls.
Height x Spread: 30cm x 45cm
Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Lavender Lady’
This new Mexican fleabane cultivar has slightly larger, lavender-pink flowers than the species.
H x S: 30cm x 40cm
Its flowers open white and turn pink and purple as they age.
H x S: 30cm x 75cm
Erigeron seciosus 'Pink Jewel'
Masses of semi-double, bright pink flowers appear in summer.
H x S: 60cm x 45cm