Melinda's Low Maintenance Plants: Asters

Asters

Fall colors and more...

Add a pop of color and pollinator appeal to your fall landscape with asters. These fall beauties come in vibrant pinks, purples, blue and white.  You’ll enjoy the colorful blooms and the bees, birds and butterflies that stop by for a visit.

Grow them in containers, perennial gardens, mixed borders or natural plantings. Asters combine nicely with various shrubs, ornamental grasses, coneflowers, Rudbeckias, goldenrods and most other perennials.

Use asters to replace faded annuals in the landscape. Plant shorter varieties at the front of the border and taller ones toward the center and back. Use large masses for clouds of color and small clusters or individual plants for pops of color throughout the landscape.

Greet visitors with pots of asters at your front entryway. Combine them with decorative squash, pumpkins, corn stalks and straw bales for a fall display.

Plant asters in a sunny location with well-drained soil for the best results.  Water new plantings thoroughly and often enough to keep the roots slightly moist. Gradually increase the time between watering to encourage deep more drought tolerant roots. Once established asters are fairly drought tolerant.

Allow asters to stand in the garden for winter. This increases their hardiness while providing food for the birds and homes for many beneficial insects. Remove and compost the dead stems in spring as new growth begins. 

You can control the height of taller varieties, if desired, with a bit of early season pinching.  Prune plants to 6” tall throughout the month of June. This encourages more compact growth that won’t need staking. Or enjoy their height and eliminate the need to stake by growing taller varieties among sturdy neighbors like ornamental grasses, goldenrods and coneflowers.

Treat asters growing in containers like annuals to be replaced next spring or give them special care over the winter. Insulate the roots by sinking asters growing in  weather-proof containers into a vacant space in the garden. Or move the planters into an unheated garage for the winter. Water whenever the soil is thawed and dry.

 

At a Glance

Name: Aster (Aster, Symphyotrichum, Eurybia….)

Size:  1 to 6’ tall

Light: Full sun, some like wood aster tolerate partial shade

Water: Water thoroughly and often enough to keep roots moist when establishing the plants. Then water as needed when the top few inches of soil start to dry.

Soil: Well-drained

 

Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers.  Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants.  Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!