Aster

Asters associate well with other late-flowering daises like Heleniums

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.

Now divided into a number of separate groups including:  Eurybia - the Woodland Asters and Symphyotrichum - the American Asters. The European Asters have stayed put!

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.

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.

Aster laevis Calliope

Calliope goes so well with Moor Grasses (Molinia) in autumn

(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 4ft / 120cm) 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.

Aster Glow in the Dark

A newish introduction from Avondale Nursery that is a cross between Aster laevis Calliope and Aster novi-belgii Fellowship. It inherits its 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.

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.

Aster macrophyllus (now Eurybia)

"Large Leaved Aster". Well named as the glossy, tough leaves are indeed large for an Aster.

Has survived years of neglect in dry, poor soil in full sun with us.

About 2ft / 60cm tall and slowly spreading. Flowering from late summer.

Image coming soon.

Aster Novemberlaan

Very late flowering (hence the name) with lavender flowers. About 3-4ft / 90-120cm tall. Starts into flower in October and goes on into November.

When I got this plant it had a pencil written label that was somewhat faded so I hope I deciphered the name correctly. Novemberlaan is a war memorial in Belgium.

Aster novi-angliae Connie (now called Symphyotrichum novi-angliae Connie)

Spectacular in September and October not just for the large purple-pink flowers but also for the parade of butterflies and bees drawn irresistibly to the feast of nectar.

4ft / 120cm tall and mildew free in our garden.

Aster novi-angliae Helen Picton

3ft / 90cm tall variety and mildew free in our garden.

Aster novi-angliae Herbstschnee (Autumn Snow)

Another 4ft / 120cm tall variety and mildew free in our garden.

Aster novi-angliae Marina Wolkonski

Dark Purple 4ft / 120cm tall - taller than Helen Picton and mildew free in our garden.

Aster schreberi (now called Eurybia schreberi)

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

Aster Twilight (now called Eurybia x.herveyi)

Shade lover (even dry) with violet flowers and large leaves. 2ft tall. Does creep at the roots but anything that flowers in dry shade is welcome to spread in my garden!

Aster Vasterival (now called Symphyotrichum Vasterival

Delightful sprays for pale pink flowers on dark, almost black, 4ft / 120cm stems in autumn. The leaves are dark green and glossy. Spreads to form good-sized drifts eventually.

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