Despite the overwhelming number of tasks facing gardeners like me in the fall, I adore the autumn season and the blooms that come with it. You heard me right – amazing blooms in the fall provided by Asters, one of my favorite perennials.
‘October Skies’ Aster (Symphyotricum oblongifolium) is a wonderful variety that grows about two feet tall and wide. I planted some on my sunny bank last fall and cut them back by half in June to help ensure a dense habit. Today they are putting on quite a show.
‘Raydon’s Favorite’ is very similar to October Skies but in my experience is a bit taller and darker in color, topping out around three feet. Raydon’s Favorite also blooms later than October Skies, which helps to ensure a long-lasting flower show. Both October Skies and Raydon’s Favorite are colorful, deer resistant groundcovers.
Recently I was introduced to another Aster – Aster ericoides ‘Snow Flurry,’ a diminutive form reaching several inches high with petite, white blooms. Snow Flurry will spread to a two-foot mass and is lovely in the front of the border or in a rock garden.
Got shade? No worries. There is an Aster for you too. Aster divaricatus thrives in my dry shade garden and spreads around readily. If you have limited space, why not choose Ampelaster carolinianus, a climbing aster that happily rambles on a trellis or a fence. Mine bloomed in the winter last year.
Maybe you are lucky enough to have a large, sunny spot and room for a meadow. Aster laevis is a great option for that situation. Pops of purple and blue on three-foot stems really stand out among the seed heads of grasses.
All of these Asters are native to North America so what’s not to like? If you haven’t already introduced Asters to your landscape, I encourage you to do so. If you are already in love with Asters – please comment and let me know which ones you adore and why!
Your joyous ode to asters didnt include the one that still remains in the Aster genus (grrrr, to those pesky taxonomists adding such confusion!). Aster tartaricus is the stiff tall one.
And so many of these species and their named selections are prolific self seeders. Gardeners who seek intense control may need to recognize the seedling that may be blown to far flung destinations in your garden (or your meighbors’).
Thanks for sharing one I missed; some of my favorite plants are self seeders like Corydalis and the Tinantia you gave me. I hope my neighbor’s will welcome any plant gifts that blow their way!
Beautiful stuff, CVer. Enjoy your writing and hope all’s well with you, ts
Thanks Tom, I know you appreciate and enjoy nature as much as I do. Thanks for taking the time to comment!