Perennial Asters are the star in the garden during autumn with their daisy like flowers in shades of pink, blue, mauve and white. These plants are easy to grow and very hardy, with most being frost resistant. Their preference is for a sunny to semi shaded spot in well drained soil. Over the years I have never noticed any problems with pests or disease but these plants can develop powdery mildew in humid conditions.
The most well known perennial asters are the Easter Daisies or Michaelmas Daisies. The plants grow to around 1m to 1.5m in height and around 50cm wide. They need to be supported as they will flop over when in flower. I don't like to stake my plants as they lose their natural appearance. Instead, I perfer to use a wire frame for them to grow through. Instead of large showy flowers, most have masses of tiny, daisy like flowers that measure between 1cm and 2cm in diameter. These flowers are excellent used in floral arrangements providing a airy whimsy to it.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (New York Aster) - This variety has over 1000 named cultivars with varying degrees of flower size and colour .
These two I have collected along the way and are unnamed. We sell them as Alba and Mauve.
Aster stracheyi - a rare alpine aster which is a short, clump-forming perennial (height 20cm x 1m wide), with large lavender daisy flowers yellow centres. The flowers are attractive to pollinators and make excellent cut flowers (stems 15cm long). It prefers a well-drained soil and full sun.
Eurybia divaricata - White Woodland Aster (previously known as Aster divaricatus)
This plant bears clusters of bright fragrant white flowers in late summer. The yellow centres of the flowers turn red when the flowers are pollinated. Flowers are produced on fine black drooping stems. This aster is a charming, low maintenance landscape plant for shady gardens. Eurybia divaricata, is perfect for woodland gardens as it can tolerate full to part shade. Growing to around 1m it is also an excellent understory plant. Like all Asters this plant will bring in the beneficial insects to your garden.
Boltonia asteroids - False Aster
Yes it isn't an Aster but it look exactly like one.
A native American wildflower, it produces masses of small mauve flowers during late summer and autumn. This plant grows to around 1.2 metres. It is rhizomatous by nature so will spread, but not aggressively. Removal of any unnecessary plants is easy. Boltonia is a perennial and is cut back to ground level after flowering. Due to its height, plant at the back of the boarder. Insects especially bees and butterflies love this plant. And boltonia makes an excellent cut flower.
In the language of flowers, Aster's represent love or daintiness. Aster is Latin for Star.
Asters have been botanically separated into different genus. The European species remain Aster. The North American have changed into three genera, Symphyotrichum, Eurybia and Doellingeria