Aster

Basic Facts:

A huge and diverse group of plants and members of the Asteraceae family. The well known Michaelmas Daisies flower in Autumn. There are also spring-flowering types.

Garden Use:

Great flower power and the autumn types are unsurpassed. These look good with grasses such as Miscanthus and Molinia

Wildlife Interest:

Very valuable for late flying bees and butterflies.

Goldfinches will enjoy the seed heads in winter

Cut Flower Use:

Asters make good cut flowers.

Cultivation:

We mostly think of them as sun lovers and many need a fairly sunny spot but there are some for shade, even dry shade.

Autumn flowering types benefit from division every 1-3 years. They can be divided in autumn or spring, but expect losses if dividing in autumn.

Dead heading prolongs flowering.

Liming the soil if acid will be beneficial.

Taller types may require staking in exposed positions.

Propagation

Many spread by ground level rooting stems which makes propagation easy. Others require  more careful division of new plantlets from the parent. As with most late flowering plants, autumn Asters are best divided in early spring.

Pests and Diseases:

Some types of Aster can host powdery mildew. We grow varieties that are mildew-free or only slightly affected. Regular division and an airy, open aspect will help prevent problems.

Native to many parts of the world. Many of the garden types come from North America.

The naming of plants changes regularly; in 2014 some Asters were moved to genii Eurybia and Symphyotrichum. These changes are listed below.

Watch how much hoverflies love Asters in our garden

Watch: Aster Connie is a Butterfly magnet

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Aster ammellus Violet Queen

aka Veilchenkönigin

Italian Aster, with luscious deep purple flowers on low growing mounds of leaves in September and October.

Price £5.00 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivey

Aster laeivs Calliope

(now called Symphyotrichum laeve Calliope)

One of the glories of the late summer / autumn border. Sparkling in the low sun, it also shines out brilliantly in dull weather. Tall plants (up to 120-150cm) with striking black stems and red-tinged leaves. The lavender purple flowers open in October and last into November (may flower slightly earlier some years). Mildew free in the ground. Does spread but not rapidly. Pretty well self-supporting.

The epithet laevis means "smooth" referring probably to the leaves and stems - most Asters have hairy leaves.

Price £5.00 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivey

Aster Glow in the Dark

A newish introduction from Avondale Nursery (hi Brian and Steph) that is a cross between Aster laevis Calliope and Aster novi-belgii Fellowship. It inherits its tangle of dark stems and dark green leaves from the former and thankfully doesn't seem to have brought along any of the novi-belgii mildew proneness.

Its got to about 5ft tall in some moist and muck-enriched soil in our long border this year.

Price £5.00 (9cm pot) Available to order for spring delivery

Aster Little Carlow

(now called Symphyotrichum Little Carlow)

Violet-blue flowers on 3ft / 90cm tall plants. Likes a good rich soil. The flower heads are very large and may need a little support when grown in rich soils.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Price £5.00 (9cm pot)

Aster novi-angliae Helen Picton

(now called Symphyotrichum novi-angliae Helen Picton)

Large heads of deep purple flowers in Spetember and October.

4ft tall and mildew free in our garden.

Price £5.00 (9cm pot) available to order for spring delivery

Aster schreberi

(now called Eurybia schreberi)

Another great Aster for (quite dense) shade and dry soil. White flowers from early August. 1ft 6in tall.

Price £5.00 (9cm pot) available to order for spring delivery

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