While this plant's common name, fleabane, doesn't inspire thoughts of beauty, it is a lovely perennial. Fleabane has yellow-centered, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, yellow, purple, and white in summer. Fleabane leaves are usually dark green or gray-green.
- Common name: Fleabane
- Botanical name: Erigeron spp.
- Zones: 2 to 8, depending on species
- Size: To 3 feet tall, depending on species
- From: Areas of Europe, Asia, and North and South America
- Family: Compositae (daisy family)
- Sun: Full sun or partial shade.
- Soil: Moist, but well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
- Moisture: Water during times of drought.
- Mulch: Lay a 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch over the soil around the plants. Use winter mulch only after the soil has frozen.
- Pruning: Cut plants back in autumn after freezing temperatures arrive or in spring before plants begin to grow.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer is generally not necessary in soils that are rich in organic matter. If desired, use a balanced fertilizer in spring.
- Seed: Sow seeds indoors or in the garden in spring.
- Division: Divide in spring.
- Aphids: These small insects often appear in large numbers on new growth. Each day, spray them off with a stream of water; they will not attack a plant after being knocked off. Use an insecticidal soap or neem-oil-based spray if infestations are severe.
- Leaf spot: In summer or autumn, the leaves become spotted yellowish or with darker colored spots. Each spot often has concentric rings around it, forming something of a bull's-eye pattern. To deter it, prune the plant to keep good air flow and avoid wetting the foliage in afternoons and evenings.
- Powdery mildew: This disease tends to appear in mid- to late summer and looks like someone dusted affected leaves with a grayish powdery covering. The leaves then drop off. To deter the disease, prune the plant to keep good air flow and avoid wetting the foliage in afternoons and evenings.
- Divide plants every couple of years to keep them vigorous.
- Erigeron auranticus: Ground cover with orange flowers in summer. To 1 foot tall. Zones 5 to 8.
- Erigeron alpinus: Yellow-centered blue or purplish flowers in summer. To 1 foot tall. Zones 5 to 8.
- Erigeron ‘Azure Fairy': Yellow-centered, double blue flowers in summer. To 1 foot tall. Zones 5 to 8.
- Erigeron ‘Charity': Semi-double yellow-centered pink flowers in summer. To 2 feet tall. Zones 5 to 8.
- Erigeron ‘Prosperity': Yellow-centered bluish flowers in summer and autumn. To 2 feet tall. Zones 4 to 8.
- Erigeron ‘Serenity': Yellow-centered bluish-purple flowers in summer. To 3 feet tall. Zones 5 to 8.
- Erigeron speciosus: Purple flowers in summer. To 2 feet tall. Zones 2 to 8.
- Erigeron ‘Summer Snow': Yellow-centered double white flowers in summer. To 2 feet tall. Zones 3 to 8.
- Erigeron tweedyi: Dwarf species to 8 inches tall bearing white flowers in spring. Zones 5 to 8.