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San Bruno Mountain golden aster (Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. bolanderi 'San Bruno Mountain') - flowers and seedheads

Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. bolanderi 'San Bruno Mountain'

San Bruno Mountain golden aster

San Bruno Mountain is a versatile, easy-to-grow, evergreen perennial with a mounding growth habit.  Yellow daisy-like flowers grace plants for much of the year.  Its small size and long blooming season makes it a particularly good choice for small gardens.  

Origin: Natural habitat and range
Golden aster is native to coastal dunes and headlands in coastal scrub from Mendocino County south to San Mateo County.  This particular selection is from San Bruno Mountain which straddles the county line between San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.

Growth habit, flowers and foliage
San Bruno Mountain is an easy-to-grow, low maintenance perennial.  It forms a low mound of light green foliage about 8-10" tall and 18" wide.  The leaves are covered with fine, silky white hairs which make them soft to the touch.  Masses of bright sunshine yellow flowers, about ½-¾" across are produced from spring through fall.

Exposure: Where to plant it
This is a versatile plant in terms of its light requirements.  It's equally happy in full sun or dappled/light shade, whether you're gardening on the coast or in warmer inland areas.  If you're in the Central Valley, you'll find golden aster is happier planted in a location where it's protected from the hot afternoon sun.

San Bruno Mountain golden aster tolerates most soil types from sandy to heavy clay.  Just don't plant it in a spot where the soil's completely waterlogged for lengthy periods.

New plants will benefit from being watered on a regular basis until they're established; about a year.  Watering frequency and duration will depend on your location, soil type and the weather.  In coastal areas, you might be able to get away with just giving new plants one really deep watering at the time of planting if you're planting in the fall or winter.  Established plants should be able to survive on rainfall alone.

Pests and Diseases
San Bruno Mountain golden aster doesn't seem to be susceptible to any pests or diseases.

Wildlife value
Seed-eating birds value the seeds.  Butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects are attracted by the pollen and nectar.

San Bruno Mountain golden aster's easy to root from semi-ripe stem cuttings.

San Bruno Mountain golden aster Growing and Maintenance Tips

If you love deadheading, then removing the dead flowers on golden aster will certainly keep it looking neat and encourage more blooms.  If you're more of a laid back gardener, then don't bother with regular deadheading; let the flowers go to seed and just relax and enjoy the fact you're providing birds with a valuable food source!

If you live in a frost-free area, rejuvenate plants in late fall by cutting them back to about 2-3" from the ground.  If you get frost, wait to do this until mid-late March.


6-10 in


12-18 in


18-24 in

Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. bolanderi 'San Bruno Mountain' Characteristics


  • Salt Tolerant
  • Wind resistant
  • Fast-growing
  • California native
  • Long Blooming
  • Evergreen

Flower color

  • Yellow / Chartreuse

Foliage color

  • Green / Blue-green

Growth habit (plant shape)

  • Mounding


  • Sunny all day - Coast
  • Light or dappled shade
  • Sunny all day - Inland
  • Morning sun

Season of interest (flowering)

  • Spring
  • Summer

Season of interest (foliage)

  • Year round

Your soil type

  • Sand
  • Clay

Water requirements

  • None - Low
  • None

Critter resistance

  • Deer resistant
  • Rabbit resistant

Wildlife appeal

  • Attracts bees
  • Attracts birds
  • Attracts beneficial insects
  • Attracts butterflies

Suggested uses

  • Under CA native oaks
  • Median strip
  • Firescaping
  • Rock garden
  • Groundcover
  • Meadow
  • Green roof


  • California

Plants that work well with Heterotheca sessiliflora ssp. bolanderi 'San Bruno Mountain'

Coyote mint Coyote mint (Monardella villosa ssp. villosa)
Slender cinquefoil Slender cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata)
Hearst ceanothus Hearst ceanothus (Ceanothus hearstiorum)
Pink skullcap Pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens)
Canyon delight alum root Canyon delight alum root (Heuchera 'Canyon Delight')
Island alum root Island alum root (Heuchera maxima)
Douglas' iris Douglas' iris (Iris douglasiana)
California fescue California fescue (Festuca californica)
de la Mina verbena de la Mina verbena (Verbena lilacina 'de la Mina')
Allen Chickering's sage Allen Chickering's sage (Salvia 'Allen Chickering')
Canyon Gray California sagebrush Canyon Gray California sagebrush (Artemisia californica 'Canyon Gray')
David's Choice sagewort David's Choice sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala 'David's Choice')
Yarrow, Island Pink Yarrow, Island Pink (Achillea millefolium 'Island Pink')
WR seaside daisy WR seaside daisy (Erigeron 'WR')
Shirley's Creeper sage Shirley's Creeper sage (Salvia 'Shirley's Creeper')
Red buckwheat, Rosy buckwheat Red buckwheat, Rosy buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens)
Pacific ninebark Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus)