Climbing Carolina Aster in bloom

And just like clockwork, the Climbing Carolina Aster Ampelaster carolinianus is starting to bloom again.

This nonnative perennial vine starts to bloom in late October through December or January, providing pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies.

For much of the year the vine can look dead, full of dried brown branches and leaves. But don't prune it! I waited until late summer and then cut only the very dried branches that were completely dead.

The plant gradually sprouts new leaves, and eventually dark pink buds start to develop and bloom.

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