04 October 2011

Autumn is for Asters

Perennial asters (Asteraceae) are the star of the autumn garden. In fact aster is the Latin word for star.
There are 180 to 250 species of aster annuals, biennials, perennials, and sub-shrubs.  
 These members of the Sunflower and Chrysanthemum plant family are also called Michaelmas daisy, starwort, and frost flower.

New England asters are easy to grow. You may notice that their flowers close at night.

This one is our native Smooth Aster
Symphyotrichum leave var. laeve.

This Aster tataricus grows 6 feet tall and multiplies every year.

If you like to see Monarch butterflies in the fall as they migrate, plant tataricus!

Most asters used for cut flowers are hybrids of two North American natives:
Aster novi-belgii (New York aster) and Aster novae-angliae (New England aster).

The shorter, shrubby aster varieties barely spread and make a tidy front of the border display.




Because there are so many varieties, their names are used interchangeably. Check catalogs, online sellers and tags for height and growing preferences.

2 comments:

Simon Green said...

Are asters the same as michaelmus daisies? My grandmother used to say the smaller type were asters but I was never so sure.

Martha said...

Michaelmus Daisies are asters but not all asters are English Michaelmus Daisies.

There are 250 aster varieties.

"The English began referring to asters as Michaelmas daisies because the start of bloom coincided with The Feast of St. Michael and all the angels on September 29th. "

"http://www.livinginseason.com/naturalworld/michaelmas-daisy/