Erigeron is a genus of perennials that belongs to the daisy family. People often mistake the colorful flowers of the Erigeron hybrids for true daisies or their closely related asters.
Pronounced [er-IJ-er-on], the Erigeron genus includes species that appear throughout mountainous areas and grasslands, but the largest variety comes from North America.
Fleabane daisy is the common name for these plants. As the name suggests, people used the plant to repel fleas.
These hardy perennials grow easily in a variety of conditions, making them an excellent addition to any garden. The daisy-like flowers come in a wide variety of shades, from pink to blue.
Size and Growth
Erigeron plants are perennials with bushy growth, reaching 16 to 24 inches tall. They exhibit moderate growth throughout the warmer months, producing thin stems with an abundance of small green leaves.
Flowering and Fragrance
Erigeron hybrids produce a sea of colorful flowers that remain in bloom for close to two months every year. It may even produce a second bloom.
The first bloom comes at the start of summer. After the flowers wither and the plant rests, it may bloom again late in the summer or early fall.
The colors vary depending on the hybrid. Some varieties are blue, lilac, pink, red, deep red, or dark blue.
The flowers don’t produce a fragrance.
Light and Temperature
Erigeron hybrids are typically suitable for year-round outdoor growth in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8, depending on the species.
Plant Erigeron in a partially shaded area. The plants tolerate frost and can survive freezing winters, but they require protection from direct afternoon sunlight.
Watering and Feeding
These plants don’t require frequent watering. Water moderately throughout the warmer months and infrequently during the winter.
Mature plants become more drought tolerant, able to go longer without water.
Before the flowers arrive in the summer, use plant fertilizer when watering. Use fertilizer again after the first bloom to achieve a healthier second bloom.
Liquid fertilizer works best, as the roots quickly absorb the provided nutrients. If using granules, press the granules into the soil, but use caution to avoid damaging the roots.
Soil and Transplanting
Erigeron hybrids grow best in soil rich with humus. It should offer fast drainage.
After cultivating the plant, don’t divide or transplant more than once per decade.
Remove withered flower stems at the end of the first bloom to receive a second bloom.
More On Daisy Like Bloomers
How to Propagate Erigeron Fleabane
Propagate with seeds, cuttings, or by division.
NOTE: Seeds may not provide the same plant as the mother plant, as these are hybrids.
To achieve a copy of the mother plant through propagation, stick with cuttings or division.
Divide every decade, but avoid dividing more frequently. Only transplant or divide sooner if the plant cannot stay in its current spot.
Divide plants in the early spring, breaking the root ball apart by hand. A spade may help break apart tough roots.
Each piece should be no bigger than a fist and contain roots. Use shears to cut the roots down to about six to eight inches to avoid crowding the roots when planting.
Use rich soil with good drainage while ensuring the newly divided plants are in a suitable location, as they should remain in place for at least a decade.
To propagate with cuttings, cut several two-inch to three-inch stems. Group the stems close together in a container with regular potting soil combined with perlite.
Covering the pot with plastic helps lock in moisture and may allow the cuttings to take root faster.
Keep the cuttings in a shaded spot and avoid direct sunlight. After about two months, when the new plants are hardy, transplant them to their permanent spots.
Pests or Disease Problems Of Erigeron Plants
If placed in a suitable area, the plants shouldn’t suffer from pests or diseases. Ensure that the soil remains well-drained.
With proper care, gray mold and leaf spot diseases remain uncommon but may still occur. Gray mold tends to develop after periods of rainy, humid weather.
The mold forms on the leaves, appearing as a brownish-gray patch. For minor mold infestations, cut away the affected leaves, throwing them out with the yard waste.
For serious mold infestations, treat with a fungicide. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always solve the problem.
If the fungicide doesn’t get rid of the mold, toss the plant.
When the air gets stagnant and humid, leaf spots may appear. The yellow spots often have dark outlines. Remove these spots, as with the mold patches.
A fungicide (even baking soda) may stop the spread of the disease. Follow the instructions on the fungicide and ensure that the plant is in a well-ventilated spot.
Suggested Erigeron Uses
Erigeron plants are bushy and need enough space to spread. Grow in a garden behind lower-growing plants or mix with other perennials to create a display of multiple colors.