Fall Bloomers: Asters

Like garden mums, asters flower more in the shortening days of all! If you have asters in your garden, you will get a carpet of daisy-like flowers on a compact plant through late September or early October, depending on the variety. They're also a rich source of nectar! And, because they flower in the midst of butterfly migration season, you'll often get a lot of butterflies thanks to this plant! They'll attract many bees as well, be aware of that when planting them in your garden. Common Names: Michaelmas daisy Zone: Zones 3-8, depending on variety Size: Dwarf ground cover varieties like Snowdrift may grow no taller than 4 inches. Native asters can grow up to 3 feet tall, and may require staking. Exposure: Sun to partial sun Bloom Period: Late summer through fall Description: Perennial asters grow on mounding or upright plants. Autumn blooms come in blue, red, white and pink, and can pair great with mums, which don't come in blue. Planting: Asters like slightly acidic soil: pH range from 5.8 to 6.5. If your soil is alkaline, correct it by adding organic matter such as well-rotted manure, leaf mold, or compost. Plant asters as soon as they’re available in early fall so that they can create a sufficient root system to keep them alive through the frost to next year. Keep them moist during any late hot spells to help them settle in. If you have heavy clay, plant them in raised beds. Varieties: Celeste: Early blooming; dark blue flowers with bright yellow centers Hazy: Early raspberry pink flowers with yellow centers Puff: A white aster hardier than many other white cultivars; very early blooms Professor Kippenburg: Clear blue flowers on a compact plant Winston Churchill: Early bloomer with dark pink flowers

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