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Erigeron are our native wild daisies. There are several species found on both sides of the Cascades, from coastal rocky bluffs to sub-alpine meadows. Many are garden-worthy, though no testimonials could be found as to how they are a bane to fleas! They are relatively care free, rewarding the home gardener with an abundance of lavender, pink, white or yellow jewel-like rays of petals surrounding a bright yellow center, blooming from mid spring until fall.
Like their related asters and daisies, Erigeron are great for a butterfly garden; all provide nectar for several butterfly species, including the rare Oregon Silverspot and Fenders Blue butterflies.
Of the several native species found in the wild, there are only two species that are readily available to the retail nursery trade, one coastal and low-growing and the other a taller form native to sub-alpine meadows in this region.
Erigeron glaucus – Seaside Daisy
At the Stark Street location, we have this species growing in our display rock garden berm near the northwest native area; lush and full, it has been blooming since spring, showing no signs of ending its brilliant show of lavender rays and yellow centered flowers.
Slightly succulent leaves that give off a slight balsam scent when bruised, Erigeron glaucus wants little to do with shady spots, and is ideal as a rock garden or container plant because of its need for perfect drainage (note that in the wild it lives its life on rocky coastal outcroppings). Happy with rich soil and dry winters (containers that can be pulled under cover when the winter rains arrive, or that well-drained rock garden); when the moisture/drainage balance is met, E. glaucus is a virtually trouble-free, abundantly rewarding native perennial. Spreading by short rhizomes, it tops out at only about 4 inches in height, making it a good candidate for the front of a sunny border.
Erigeron peregrinus – Subalpine Daisy
Probably the most common of the Oregon daisies, E. peregrinus is perhaps the best one for the westside garden, due to its preference and adaptability to moister conditions than some of its relatives in the wild it is found growing in moist to wet meadows and streamsides throughout the middle and higher elevations of our region.
E. peregrinus sends up stems topped with large flowers that vary from lavender, pink or reddish-purple, though all with the telltale bright yellow central disk. Taller than its rocky and coastal cousins, E. peregrinus stands to approximately 18-24 inches and also spreads by short rhizomes.
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Common Name: Fleabane
Origin: Western North America
Characteristics: The green to green/gray basal leaves are broadly lance shaped, held atop a short rhizome. Daisy-like flowers of white, yellow or purple (depending on species) with yellow centers rise above 4-28 inches.
Species of Erigeron are found from the coast to both sides of the cascades in open dry, rocky areas to sub-alpine meadows.
Culture: Fleabanes all want full sun and good drainage. Depending on species, will grow in richer or leaner soil, more or less moisture. In the garden, they are good candidates for a sunny border, container, or rock garden.
Though some are drought-tolerant, these will still look best if given some supplemental water in summer.
Pests/Diseases: Most Erigeron that are garden-worthy are relatively free of pests and disease.