Fleabane, Erigeron: “Dependable Daisy”
By Kier Holmes
Why is fleabane such a favourite? As a garden designer, I admittedly have a go-to list of plants curated over time and I reflexively consult it for any new project. Yes, this is to save time, yes to avoid reinventing the wheel, and mostly because I know can rely on these plants. Example: When I need a low-maintenance flowering perennial that flowers enthusiastically for many months, can be used as a ground cover, softens edges, and has a casual feel, I always reach for Erigeron daisies. Done and done.
Erigeron, a proud member of the aster family, is a diverse genus of plants with more than 170 species found in temperate climates around the world. A gardener’s favourite, depending on the variety these daisies may behave like annuals, perennials, or biennials. Distinguished by perky rays of narrow petals formed around a bright centre disk, erigeron flowers smother a landscape in pastel blooms.
Erigeron comes from Greek meaning “early” and “old man,” which references the plant’s tendency for blooming in late spring and for producing fuzzy white seed heads while simultaneously producing new flowers. The common name, fleabane, is possibly derived from a long-ago superstition that the dried plants repelled fleas or that the plants were poisonous to fleas.
Fleabane is often seen thriving in pastures, in open spaces, or along roadsides because it produces seeds prolifically; the fluffy seed heads easily disperse by wind and water.
• Erigeron is a top pollinator-attracting plant; butterflies and moths especially adore these daisies. In fact, many species of moths and butterflies feed exclusively on erigeron.
• Fleabane fits well into a cottage garden when situated under bare-bottomed roses or at the base of shrubs such as hydrangeas and lilacs.
• Because erigeron thrives in quick-draining soil, it’s also a great choice for rock gardens, slopes, and seaside gardens.
• Depending on the species, erigeron will flower from late spring through the beginning of autumn. Deadhead it after the first flush to promote re-blooming. Cut back stems to the ground at the end of autumn.
• Fleabane is relatively drought resistant, but happier with a regular supply of water.
• Deer resistant and low maintenance.
• Erigeron is a sun worshipper but also accepts part sun.

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