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Spotlight On: Aster, The Super Stars Of Late Summer Gardens

By August 5, 2021March 22nd, 2022Plant Spotlight
Spotlight On: Aster, The Super Stars Of Late Summer Gardens

The late summer sun may be hard on your flower gardens, and toward the end of the season most blooms begin to fade. But just as other perennials lose their luster, Aster comes out to play, in colors of blue and purple, pink and white.

These “stars” of your late summer and autumn garden actually get their name from the Greek word for star. And their daisy-like petals make it easy to understand where these beauties got their celestial name.

In this Spotlight series, we highlight landscape favorites that bring something special throughout the seasons, whether in color, texture, ease of care, or all of the above! Today we’re showcasing the cheerful Aster. With several hundred species available, this native plant is a garden addition that shouldn’t be overlooked.

purple asterNot Just Stars, But Hearts And Clovers

This garden beauty may derive its name from an ancient word for star, but that’s not the only symbolism it invokes. The Farmer’s Almanac suggests that it represents love and desire, and can also symbolize devotion and faith.

Asters are also associated with good luck, so finding one in your garden may be better than a four-leaf clover!

But those aren’t the only associations. This humble flower has quite a laundry list of myths, legends and secrets attached to it. Burning Aster leaves have a history in folklore as repellents against evil spirits. Magical fairies are said to sleep under their closed petals after dusk.

And if you’re going to send someone a bouquet of flowers for a 20th wedding anniversary, skip the roses and opt for the true “talisman of love”, the beloved aster.

For all of its connotations and fun facts, this North American wildflower is simply an excellent addition to your summer landscape, bringing cheerful colors and long-lasting blooms that will capture your heart and maybe even make you a little starry-eyed yourself.

butterfly on asterCare & Maintenance

With so many species to choose from, you can find one that will thrive in myriad growing conditions, from full sun to part shade. Woodland species can tolerate shade, but you’ll be rewarded with the prettiest flowers if you can provide them some morning sun.

Depending on the species, they can grow from a compact 12 inches, all the way up to eight feet tall!

Most asters require well-drained soil. Too much water can lead to rot, so one inch of water each week will be plenty. Pro tip: try to water at the base of the flowers instead of showering the leaves. This will help prevent mildew, which is one of the common ailments that can be avoided with good care.

Other than that, Asters are hardy native wildflowers that need little care and maintenance. They can benefit from the occasional deadheading, which will remove fading blooms and make way for new ones, but will otherwise continue to shine and smile on their own while you sit back and enjoy them.

As an added bonus, asters are frost-hardy, which is one of the reasons they’re such a great addition to your late summer and autumn garden. The thrive best in the cooler temperatures of the late season, and can even survive near-freezing nighttime temperatures.

pink asterWhy We Love It

Their showy pink, blue and purple blooms are hard to resist, especially as the summer wanes. They’re a nice visual change from the traditional autumn mum, and are great in rock gardens, as borders, backdrops, and along edges. They’re even easy to grow in containers, which makes them a great addition to your patio or a welcoming front porch.

Asters not only bring stunning color but they’re a versatile landscape addition that can be incorporated in visually creative ways. They can be planted in a mix of colors, and with fellow species of varying heights. They’re perfect for mixed wildflower gardens, lending their unique shape and color, ready to bloom as other summer flowers begin to fade.

And humans aren’t the only ones that love them. They’re great for attracting bees and butterflies, providing a source of late-season nectar that may otherwise be absent.

Whether you want a pop of color, or to attract a few more butterflies to your garden, this low maintenance flower is a happy addition to any landscape.

If you’re interested in learning more how this beauty can bring you enjoyment, contact us for a consultation. We’ll plan a four-season outdoor space that you’ll love and enjoy for years to come.