Aster

FAMILY: Asteraceae | GENUS: SYMPHYOTRICHUM

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

Recent castoffs from the genus Aster, these familiar garden perennials have an unfamiliar name. These are the New World asters, and they now have their own genus. Gardeners rely upon them for their clouds of blue, purple, pink, and white blooms in the autumn garden.

BLUE WOOD ASTER

symphyotrichum cordifolium(A. cordifolius)

  • Native to eastern North America.
  • To 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide, with loose, branching clusters of inch-wide lavender flowers.
  • Sun or light shade.
  • Little Carlow, to 2 feet high, bears a profusion of violet-blue flowers.

HEATH ASTER

symphyotrichum ericoides(A. ericoides)

  • Native to eastern North America.
  • To 3 feet tall and 1 feet wide, with narrow leaves and strong horizontal branching.
  • Profuse inches blooms in white, pink, or blue.
  • Plants sold as Symphyotrichum e.
  • Monte Cassino may actually belong to Symphyotrichum pringlei.

SMOOTH ASTER

symphyotrichum laeve(A. laevis)

  • Native to eastern North America.
  • Grows to 312 feet tall, 1 feet wide, with smooth, mildew-free foliage and clustered 1 inches flower heads of deep purplish blue.
  • Bluebird is a superior selection to 45 feet tall.

CALICO ASTER

symphyotrichum lateriflorum(A. lateri- florus)

  • North American native.
  • Species grows to 4 feet tall, 1 feet wide.
  • Garden selections are shorter (to 2 feet.), with profuse branching, tiny leaves and a haze of inches., purplish pink flowers.
  • Foliage turns a coppery purplish red in early fall.
  • Prince has blackish purple stems and leaves; its blooms are white with a red center.
  • Lady in Black is a bolder version of 'Prince', with the same dark foliage and masses of tiny, red-centered white flowers; it grows 34 feet tall.
  • Coombe Fishacre is a hybrid developed from Symphyotrichum lateriflorum; it produces tiny pink flowers with red centers on a plant to 23 feet tall.

NEW ENGLAND ASTER

symphyotrichum novae-angliae(A. novae-angliae)

  • Native from Vermont to Alabama, west to North Dakota, Wyoming, and New Mexico.
  • Stout-stemmed plant to 35 feet tall and nearly as wide, with hairy leaves to 5 inches long.
  • Flowers are 2 inches wide; they are violet-blue in the basic form, with selections in other blue shades, white, pink, nearly red, and deep purple.
  • All are very tolerant of wet soils and will reseed.
  • Two longtime favorite selections are good garden plants: 'Alma Potschke' produces salmon-pink, single blooms on 3 feet stems from late summer to early fall; 'Harrington's Pink' produces clear pink single flowers over a long autumn season on 3- to 4 feet stems.
  • Another good selection is 'Purple Dome', which reaches just 1 feet tall and has brilliant purple blooms.

NEW YORK ASTER, MICHAELMAS DAISY

symphyotrichum novi-belgii(A. novi-belgii)

  • Native to eastern North America.
  • To 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with full clusters of bright blue-violet flowers.
  • Similar to Symphyotrichum novae-angliae but with smooth leaves.
  • Hundreds of selections are available, varying in height from less than a foot to over 4 feet.; flower colors include white, cream, blue, lavender, purple, rose, and pink.
  • Among the many choices are 'Persian Rose' (rose-pink) and semidouble 'Professor Anton Kippenburg' (lavender-blue), both under 1 feet high and 1 feet wide.
  • Robust 'Climax' bears large sprays of single medium blue blossoms on stems to 6 feet high.

AROMATIC ASTER

symphyotrichum oblongifolium(A. oblongifolium)

  • From the central U.S. Grows 2 feet tall and wide, with light blue-violet, 1 inches flowers that last into late fall, unperturbed by heavy frosts.
  • Pale green leaves are aromatic when crushed.
  • Prefers a dry, open site; tolerates harsh conditions, including heat, cold, poor or alkaline soil, and strong winds.
  • Selection 'October Skies' produces rich sky-blue flowers; 'Raydon's Favorite' bears bluish purple ones.
  • Fanny, growing 34 feet tall, has grayish green leaves and masses of bright purple blossoms.
  • Raydons Birthday Pink' grows upright up to 3 feet tall.

LATE PURPLE ASTER

symphyotrichum patens(A. patens)

  • From the eastern and southeastern U.S. To 3 feet tall, 1122 feet wide.
  • Prolific show of bright violet-blue, 1 inches flowers.
  • Tolerates drought and partial shade.

symphyotrichum pilosum pringlei(A. pilosus pringlei, A

  • pringlei).
  • HAIRY ASTER.
  • Eastern U.S. native known in cultivation through its selection 'Monte Cassino', a familiar florists' cut flower.
  • Grows to 5 feet tall and 112 feet wide; tall, narrow stems have many short side branches set with starry, white, 34 inches flowers.
  • This plant is often sold as Symphyotrichum ericoides 'Monte Cassino'.

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