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How to Grow Boltonia

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Boltonia is a tall, late-season blooming perennial. It is a North American native wildflower that is often grown in gardens. It is a good choice for a colorful background plant in flower borders.

Boltonia is a bushy, strongly upright plant covered with a profusion of small yellow-centered white, pink, or blue daisies. It blooms from late summer to late autumn. The flowers resemble Michaelmas daisies.

Boltonia is a genus of plants that includes 14 species. Boltonia asteroides is the species grown in gardens. Other species can be grown in wildflower gardens or meadows.


Get to know Boltonia

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 3 to 7
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -35°F (-37°C); cold hardy perennial but foliage may die back in winter in cold regions
  • Height and width: 4 to 6 feet (1.2-1.8m) tall; 3 to 4 feed (.9-1.2m) wide
  • Foliage: Tall, mounded plants with gray-green willow-like foliage
  • Flowers: Small daisy flowers 3/4-inch across
  • Flower colors: White, pink, or blue with yellow centers
  • Bloom time: Late summer to late fall
  • Uses: Plant in mixed borders or with ornamental grasses, native gardens, Boltonia is deer-resistant
  • Common name: Boltonia, Bolton’s Aster
  • Botanical name: Boltonia asteroides
  • Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)

Where to plant Boltonia

  • Boltonia grows best in full sun but will tolerate very light shade.
  • Grow Boltonia in humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil. Dry soil produces smaller plants.
  • Boltonia prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.

Boltonia uses and companions

  • Grow Boltonia in a border or wild garden, or for cut flowers.
  • Use Boltonia in the back of a border.
  • Good Boltonia garden companions include Joe-Pye weed, Autumn Joy sedum, asters, chrysanthemums, black-eyed Susans, and fall-blooming plants.
Boltonia lautureana
Boltonia lautureana

When to plant Boltonia

  • Set established plants in the garden in spring after the last frost.
  • Sow seed indoors or outdoors after the last frost in spring.
  • Divisions can be set in the garden in spring.

Planting and spacing Boltonia

  • Sow Boltonia in evenly prepared garden soil.
  • Sow seed indoors in six-packs or flats using a sterile seed-starting mix. Start seeds indoors in a bright location or under fluorescent light.
  • Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep; lightly cover the seeds.
  • Space Boltonia 3 to 4 feet (.9-1.2m) apart.

How to water and feed Boltonia

  • Moderate water is best especially early in growth. Boltonia is drought tolerant when mature.
  • Feed Boltonia lightly; side dress with an all-purpose fertilizer.

Boltonia care

  • Mulch around Boltonia to spread splashing soil which can cause disease.
  • Thin Boltonia to remove some stems in early summer; this will encourage stronger plants. Boltonia often needs staking.
  • Deadhead spent flowers; flowers left on the plant will drop seed and the plant will quickly naturalize in the garden.
  • Trim away dead foliage at the end of the bloom season or in spring to keep plants from becoming straggly.
  • Divide Boltonia every 3 to 4 years.
  • Boltonia is generally pest and disease-free. Avoid wetting the foliage; wet foliage can host fungal diseases.

Boltonia propagation

  • Divide oversized clumps in spring. Plants generally need division every 3 to 4 years.
  • Take cuttings in early summer.
  • Allow flowers to dry on the plant if you want to collect seed for replanting.
  • Seed collected from cultivars is unlikely to produce plants like its parents.
  • Boltonia seeds germinate in 7 to 8 weeks at 60°F (15°C).

Boltonia varieties to grow

  • Boltonia asteroides is a tall shrubby perennial 4- to 6-feet tall with narrow blue-green leaves and masses of 3/4 inch-wide daisies; flowers are white, pink, or pinkish purple with yellow centers; the cultivar ‘Snowbank’ hA white flowers.
  • Boltonia asteroides var. latisquana ‘Pink Beauty’ has pale lilac-pink flowers and grows to 5 feet tall.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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