Asters range from alpine kinds forming compact, 6 inches mounds to open-branching plants 6 feet tall. 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, except as noted. 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. For the common annual or China aster sold at nurseries, see Callistephus chinensis. For Stokes' aster, see Stokesia laevis. Recent botanical reclassification means new names for many garden asters, as you will see below.
True asters are adapted to most soils, but growth is most luxuriant in fertile soil. Few problems except for mildew on leaves in late fall. Seldom browsed by deer. Divide in late fall or early spring. Replant vigorous young divisions from outside of clump; discard old center.
- Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
- Native to Alps, Pyrenees.
- Mounding plant to 1 feet high, 112 feet wide.
- Leaves 5 inches long, mostly in basal tuft.
- Several stems grow from the leafy clump, each with one violet-blue flower 1122 inches across.
- Late spring to early summer bloom.
- Best in cold-winter areas.
- White and pink forms are uncommon.
- Native to Europe, western Asia.
- Sturdy, hairy plant grows about 2 feet tall, 1 12 feet wide.
- Branching stems bear yellow-centered violet flowers 2 inches across.
- See Symphyotrichum cordifolium
- See Eurybia divaricata
- See Symphyotrichum ericoides
- One of the finest, most useful and widely adapted perennials.
- Hybrid between Symphyotrichum amellus and Aster thomsonii, a hairy-leafed, lilac-flowered, 3 feet-tall species native to the Himalayas.
- Dark green leaves; abundant clear lavender to violet-blue single flowers about 212 inches across.
- Open growth to 2 feet high and wide.
- Blooms early summer to fallalmost all year in mild-winter areas if spent flowers are removed regularly.
- May be short lived.
- Wonder of Staffa and 'Mnch' are favorites, with blossoms in lavender-blue.
- Floras Delight', to 112 feet high, has gray-green foliage and abundant pale lilac flowers with large yellow centers.
- See Symphyotrichum laeve
- See Symphyotrichum lateriflorum
- See Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
- See Symphyotrichum novi-belgii
- See Symphyotrichum oblongifolium
- See Symphyotrichum patens
aster pilosus pringlei(Aster pringlei)
- See Symphyotrichum pilosum pringlei
- US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
- Native to Siberia, China, Japan.
- Not for small gardens, this giant grows to 57 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with 2 feet-long leaves and sheaves of inch-wide blue flowers in flat clusters in fall.
- Can be invasive.
- Takes sun or shade.
- Jindai grows 34 feet tall.
aster tongolensis EAST INDIES ASTER
- From China, Himalayas.
- Dark green leaves in basal tufts; clumps grow to 112 feet high and 1 feet wide.
- Each stem bears asingle lavender-blue, orange-centered, 2 inches flower in late spring to early summer.
- Napsbury has dark blue blooms.
- Wartburg Star forms a dense mound and has violet-blue flowers.
aster Wood's series
- Woods Light Blue' is a bushy plant with dark green leaves.
- It grows 1112 feet high, 1122 feet wide, but it can be severely cut back in early summer and will still flower well at only 6 inches high, bearing an abundance of medium blue, 1 inches blossoms late in the season.
- Woods Purple', to barely 1 feet high and wide, has deep purple blooms.