Plant asters for showy fall blooms that look great in pots.

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Tired of repurchasing pots of mums year after year? Even if you treat them as perennials and plant them in your garden, mums can feel quite samey come fall. There's a reason every garden store has piles of mums for purchase during the autumn months, and it's because everyone and their sister buys pots of the yellow, orange, and red blooms for their porches and entryways. If you'd like to try something new and branch out into the broader world of fall flowers, check out fall-blooming asters, a fresh alternative to mums.

There are lots of asters to choose from come late summer and fall, and they also have a wide shade range. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, "The flowers come in white or shades of blue, red, pink, lavender, or purple, mostly with yellow centers; they bloom in late summer to early fall." When you plant asters, they'll require full sun and regular to moderate water, depending on the climate. While they work in pots, you can easily treat them as perennials, which will allow you to look forward to their blooms year after year.

One of the last asters to bloom in autumn is aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, Aster oblongifolius). It's native to the South, particularly in places like Missouri and Kentucky, and grows to 24 inches tall, sending its fragrance out and its purple, blue, or pink blooms up into the air. It's lovely grown in pots but can also be used in beds and edging.

Asters
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For planting ideas, turn to The New Southern Living Garden Book, which says, "Taller asters are invaluable for abundant color in large borders or among shrubs. Large sprays are effective in arrangements. Compact dwarf or cushion types make tidy edgings, mounds of color in rock gardens, good container plants." Plant a few pots this season to add a bit of difference in your autumn decor.

Learn more about asters at southernliving.com.

Aster
Credit: © Debi Dalio/Getty Images

What's your go-to fall flower? Do you buy mums every year, or do you have fall-blooming perennials in your garden?