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Frost Aster

Symphyotrichum pilosum

The mass of flowers on this aster draws many pollinators, especially bees; palatable to cattle & deer



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Symphyotrichum pilosum, commonly known as frost aster or hairy old-field aster, is a native perennial forb (wildflower) native to  upland prairies, weedy meadows, pastures, open woodlands, limestone glades, abandoned/old fields, railroad right of ways, roadsides and waste ground. Frost aster is particularly noted for its extremely hairy stems and leaves.

Wildlife notes

Like other asters (Symphyotrichum spp.), the flowerheads of this plant attract many kinds of insects, including honeybees, bumblebees, little carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, long-horned bees, leaf-cutting bees, Halictid bees, plasterer bees, Andrenid bees, Sphecid wasps, Vespid wasps, Ichneumonid wasps, Braconid wasps, Syrphid flies, bee flies, thick-headed flies, Tachinid flies, flesh flies, blow flies, Muscid flies, small- to medium-sized butterflies, skippers, moths, and various beetles. These insects feed on, or collect, nectar and pollen from the flowerheads. Among vertebrate animals, the ecological value of asters is more limited. The Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey feed on the leaves and seeds of these plants; the Tree Sparrow also eats their seeds during the winter. Among mammals, the Cottontail Rabbit and White-tailed Deer browse on the foliage, especially when these plants are still immature, while the White-footed Mouse eats the seeds.

Forage notes

Livestock will browse the foliage when the plant is young and growing.

Landscaping notes

Easily grown in moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best growth typically occurs in moist, semi-shaded woodland areas. Tolerates full sun in cool summer climates but appreciates some part shade in climates where summer temperatures consistently exceed 90 degrees F. Tolerates periodic flooding. Stems may be pinched back in late spring to early summer if shorter plants are desired. Borders. Open woodland areas. Prairies. Cottage gardens. Mass or group.

Restoration notes

Typical habitats include disturbed areas of upland prairies, weedy meadows, openings in upland woodlands, savannas, limestone glades, rocky cliffs and thinly wooded bluffs, pastures and abandoned fields, roadsides and areas along railroads, edges of yards and gardens, vacant lots, and various kinds of waste ground.

This species is commonly used in the following mixes: Prairie Patchwork Mix, Butterfly & Hummingbird Mix

Additional information

Weight N/A

Packet, Ounce, Pound


Full Sun to Part Shade

Seeding Rate

4 bulk lbs/acre


Dry, Average



Bloom Month

Sep, Oct


White, Yellow

Specialty Uses


# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq. ft

What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.