Erigeron Annuus: Growing The Annual Fleabane Daisy

Erigeron annuus [er-IJ-er-on, AN-yoo-us], is a type of herbaceous plant with attractive daisy-like flowers belonging to the Asteraceae or Aster family.

Aside from its scientific name you may hear it called by the following common names including:

  • Annual fleabane
  • Daisy fleabane
  • Eastern daisy fleabane

As the name suggests, it’s an annual plant, dying out each year. 

flowering annual fleabane - Erigeron annuus

The annual fleabane is native to North America. It’s an incredibly common plant found in 43 of the contiguous United States.

Other Erigeron Fleabane varieties Include:

A synonym for Annuus is Stenactis annua.

This native spreads easily through disturbed areas, including abandoned fields, railways, and vacant lots. In many cases, it overcomes invasive weeds.

While it’s a relatively simple plant to cultivate each year, it does require a few specific steps to ensure a full bloom.

Erigeron Annuus Care

Size and Growth

Annual fleabane produces thin green stems reaching heights of 1′ – 2′ feet. 

The stems include alternative basal leaves, which are often large compared to other species of the Erigeron genus.

The lower leaves are often coarsely toothed while the upper leaves are rarely toothed.

Flowering and Fragrance

The flowers appear in the spring or early summer and last through the early fall. 

The flower heads have yellow centers and white ray florets and sometimes produce a noticeable mild fragrance. 

Light and Temperature

It’s hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8, but it’s an annual plant and dies out at the end of the year.

Place the plant under full or partial sun. 

If placed indoors, avoid direct afternoon sunlight. 

The excessive heat may dry the plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wither away.

Watering and Feeding

Keep the soil moist throughout the year. 

Erigeron needs constant moisture, but not soaking wet soil. 

Fertilizer helps encourage fuller, longer blooms, but isn’t necessary unless the plant grows in poor conditions. 

If using fertilizer, add a water-soluble fertilizer when watering.

Soil and Transplanting

Daisy fleabane grows in almost any soil, which is why it spreads easily in the wild. 

In fact, in some areas, it’s possible to find wild daisy fleabane and propagate it for growth in a container or garden.

Erigeron does not need transplanting, as they’re annuals. 

However, if starting seeds in a starter tray, transplant them to their permanent homes after the last threat of frost. 

Young plants may need stakes to avoid flopping over. 

If the stems can’t stand upright on their own, press thin stakes into the ground and carefully secure the stems with soft twine. 

Grooming

To extend the flowering period, remove spent blossoms. 

At the end of each flowering period, cut back the stems by one-third of the total height. 

This should help the plant produce a second flowering period lasting through most of the fall season. 

Some species of Erigeron grow as perennials instead of annuals and closely resemble the annuus species. 

If the species turns out to be a perennial, cut back the stems at the end of the season. This encourages healthier growth in the spring.

How To Propagate Eastern Daisy Fleabane

  • Propagate annuals fleabane from seeds. 
  • Sow the seeds at the start of spring for early summer bloom.
  • Use starter trays to sow the seeds indoors. 
  • They should take about four weeks to germinate. 

It’s also possible to propagate wild Erigeron annuus. 

  • Remove a clump of wild daisy fleabane. 
  • The clump should contain several sets of stems and a thick root ball. 
  • Carefully separate the root ball into several sections. 
  • When separating the clumps, leave chunks of soil attached to the root ball. 
  • Plant the separated clumps in their new homes, water frequently until established. 

Annual Fleabane Daisy Pest or Diseases

The daisy-like flowers of the daisy fleabane attract all types of pests and critters. 

Bees, butterflies, moths, and various insects may appear throughout the year when cultivated outdoors.

To deal with pests, such as aphids or spider mites, wash them away with blasts of cool water from a garden hose. 

Severe infestations may require the use of an insecticide such as neem oil.

A common problem with Erigeron annuus is the yellowing of the leaves. 

If the leaves start to turn yellow and drop, plants are likely receiving too much sunlight or not enough water.

Move plants to a shadier habitat or increase the frequency of watering. 

The invasiveness is another concern. In parts of Kentucky, the annual fleabane is invasive and considered a weed. 

The seeds may scatter after pollination and allow new growth to appear the following year.

Parts of Erigeron also contain toxins toxic to cats and dogs. 

There is no reported toxicity to humans, birds, or livestock.

Suggested Annuus Erigeron Uses

Due to the height of the flower stalks, the annual fleabane looks great behind shorter plants in a garden or flower box. 

Grow the Annuus in containers or out in the garden.

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