Your Guide to Asters
For a perennial with a multitude of gorgeous varieties, plant asters in spring, summer, or fall
There are more than 600 species of true aster plants, ranging from 6-inch-high alpine kinds forming compact mounds to open-branching 6-foot tall plants. These perennials are stars of a fall garden, coming into bloom just as almost everything else gets ready to go to sleep. Aster flowers also provide an important late-season food source for pollinators, including bees and butterflies. For an even bigger bonus, asters make an excellent cut flower, lasting for a full week in a vase.
How to Plant Asters
Tuck asters into your garden anytime from spring to fall.
Most asters appreciate full sun. While true aster plants are adapted to most soils, growth is best in well-amended beds. Asters are prone to few problems except for mildew on leaves in the late follow. Strong-growing hybrids have invasive roots; they can regrow from small fragments left in soil and spread to become nuisances.
Each spring, add several handfuls of compost around aster plants to get them off to a great season.
For best growth, divide your asters yearly in late fall or early spring. Replant the most vigorous-looking young divisions from outside of the clump, and discard the older center.
A great choice for your garden, Aster x frikartii are one of the most useful and widely adapted of all asters. Delicate-looking flowers hold up on surprisingly tough plants, which tolerate any soil type. Enjoy clear lavender to violet blue flowers that measure 2½ inches. Blooms early summer to fall—and almost year round in mild-winter areas if you deadhead regularly.
‘Mönch’ grows to 2 feet-tall and cranks out 2 1/2-inch lavender-blue flowers almost all year with regular deadheading.
‘Wonder of Staffa’ is another top recommendation with lavender blue blossoms.
Aster Flower Colors
You’ll find asters in single or mixed colors of crimson, pink, purple, rose, and white.