Aster

Plant this stellar perennial in your landscape for its fantastic fall blooms.

Colorful Combinations

Aster plants get their name from the Latin word for "star," and their flowers are often the superstars of the fall garden. Some aster's height can reach up to 6 feet with white and pink flowers but also, perhaps most strikingly, in rich purple, showy lavender, and occasionally blue.

Aster Care Must-Knows

Aster can be found for most growing conditions short of full shade, with several hundred species available. This plant prefers moist, well-drained soil; overly wet soil leads to rot. Some asters require nutrient-rich soil; others need lean soil lacking organic material. Most asters should be grown in full sun to prevent flopping, especially in shady or windy locations. Woodland species tolerate shade but need morning sum to produce the prettiest flowers.

Aster can be grown from seed, but expect uneven germination. It may be easier to purchased plants at a garden center. Space the transplants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the species, add mulch to keep the soil cool and prevent weeds, and water generously. Pinch back the tips of young plants to encourage bushiness. If your region receives less than one inch of rain a week, continue to water aster on a regular basis. If your plants lose flowers, or are not flowering well, they are getting too much or too little moisture. Try a different watering method.

Remove spent flowers after aster has finished blooming for the season to prevent spindly unwanted seedlings that may not resemble the original plant. Divide fast-growing plants every few years in spring or autumn, which helps plants maintain vigor and keeps them from dying out in the center. Watch for powdery mildew and rust diseases on the leaves. Chrysanthemum lace bugs sometimes show up and suck nutrients from the leaves but can be controlled with insecticidal soap.

More Varieties of Aster

Aster Overview

Description Easy-to-grow asters come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit gardens of all dimensions, shapes, and styles—especially cutting gardens and sunny or lightly shaded borders. Although a few species bloom in early spring, most put on a spectacular flower display, supported by evergreen foliage, from late summer well into fall when other summer blooms may be fading.
Genus Name Symphyotrichum
Common Name Aster
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 4 feet
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Drought Tolerant

'Alma Potschke' New England Aster

New England aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke'

Symphyotrichum 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 Symphyotrichum lateriflorus
Peter Krumhardt

Symphyotrichum 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

New York aster Symphyotrichum novi-belgii 'Fellowship'
Janet Mesic-Mackie

Symphyotrichum novi-belgii 'Fellowship' has clear pink daisy flowers on plants that reach 3 feet tall. Zones 4-8.

'Purple Dome' New England Aster

New England aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'
Janet Mesic-Mackie

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' grows only 18 inches tall and has bright purple flowers in September and October. Zones 4-8.

'Monch' Aster

aster Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Monch'
Peter Krumhardt

Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Monch' forms a tidy mound 2 feet tall and wide with lavender-blue semi-double, daisy-like flowers from June to September. Zones 5-8.

'Triumph' Aster

aster Symphyotrichum x alpellus 'Triumph'
Jay Wilde

Symphyotrichum 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

aster Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Wonder of Staffa'
Kim Cornelison

Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Wonder of Staffa' is similar to 'Monch', but grows 28 inches tall and has paler blue blooms. Zones 5-8.

'Hella Lacy' New England Aster

'Hella Lacy' New England aster
Greg Ryan

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Hella Lacy' grows 3 feet tall and features clear purple flowers from midsummer through fall. Zones 4-8.

Aster Companion Plants

Boltonia

Close up of purple Boltonia
Bill Holt

Boltonia is a large, late summer showstopper that looks almost like a tall baby's breath in a 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

russian sage silver-leaf plant
Peter Krumhardt

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 and 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

Sedum
Jo-Ann Richards

Sedums are nearly 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. There are lots of varieties, 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 smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.

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