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Summer Garden Maintenance Checklist

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Popular in Gardening

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Aster

Aster

Asters get their name from the Latin word for "star," and their flowers are indeed the superstars of the fall garden. Some types of this native plant can reach up to 6 feet with flowers in white and pinks but also, perhaps most strikingly, in rich purples and showy lavenders.

Not all asters are fall bloomers. Extend the season by growing some of the summer bloomers, as well. Some are naturally compact; tall types that grow more than 2 feet tall benefit from staking or an early-season pinching or cutting back by about one-third in July or so to keep the plant more compact.

Light:

Sun

Type:

Height:

Under 6 inches to 8 feet

Width:

1-4 feet wide

Flower Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

3-9

how to grow Aster

more varieties for Aster

'Alma Potschke' New England aster
'Alma Potschke' New England aster
Aster novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke' blooms from August to frost with red-violet daisies on a plant 4 feet tall. Zones 4-8
Calico aster
Calico aster
Aster lateriflorus is a 2- to 3-foot-tall mounded, shrubby plant with pinkish-white daisies in September and October. Zones 4-8
'Fellowship' New York aster
'Fellowship' New York aster
Aster novi-belgii 'Fellowship' has clear pink daisy flowers on plants that reach 3 feet tall. Zones 4-8
'Hella Lacy' New England aster
'Hella Lacy' New England aster
Aster novae-angliae 'Hella Lacy' grows 3 feet tall and features clear purple flowers from midsummer through fall. Zones 4-8
'Monch' aster
'Monch' aster
Aster x frikartii 'Monch' forms a tidy mound 2 feet tall and wide with lavender-blue semidouble daisylike flowers from June to September. Zones 5-8
'Purple Dome' New England aster
'Purple Dome' New England aster
Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' grows only 18 inches tall and has bright purple flowers in September and October. Zones 4-8
'Triumph' aster
'Triumph' aster
Aster x alpellus 'Triumph' is a petite summer bloomer, reaching only 1 foot tall. Its compact form is ideal for the front of the border or container gardens. Zones 4-9
'Wonder of Staffa' aster
'Wonder of Staffa' aster
Aster x frikartii 'Wonder of Staffa' is similar to 'Monch', but grows 28 inches tall and has paler blue blooms. Zones 5-8

plant Aster with

Boltonia
Looking almost like a tall baby's breath, boltonia is a large, late summer showstopper in the perennial border. Also known as white boltonia and white doll's daisy, its 1-inch-diameter daisy-like blooms may be white or light pink. Cut it back in early summer to promote a sturdier branched plant that requires no staking.
Russian sage
With its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, Russian sage is an important player in summer and fall gardens. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders. The aromatic leaves are oblong, deeply cut along the edges. Foot-long panicles of flowers bloom for many weeks. Excellent drainage and full sun are ideal, although very light shade is tolerated. Plant close to avoid staking since the tall plants tend to flop.
Sedum
Sedums are nearly the perfect plants. They look good from the moment they emerge from the soil in spring and continue to look fresh and fabulous all growing season long. Many are attractive even in winter when their foliage dies and is left standing. They're also drought-tolerant and need very little if any care. They're favorites of butterflies and useful bees. The tall types are outstanding for cutting and drying. Does it get better than that? Only in the fact that there are many different types of this wonderful plant, from tall types that will top 2 feet to low-growing groundcovers that form mats. All thrive in full sun with good drainage. Ground cover types do a good job of suppressing weeds, but seldom tolerate foot traffic. Some of the smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.
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