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Aster novae-angliae ‘Skyscraper’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Aster novae-angliae ‘Skyscraper’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Zone
Zones 2B, 3-24, 31-43
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Aster x frikartii

Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials, Flowers

ASTER

There are more than 600 species of true asters, ranging from 6-in.-high alpine kinds forming compact mounds to open-branching 6-ft.-tall plants. Flowers come in white or shades of blue, red, pink, lavender, or purple, mostly with yellow centers. Bloom time comes in late summer to early fall, except as noted.

Taller asters are invaluable for abundant color in large borders or among shrubs. Large sprays effective in arrangements. Compact dwarf or cushion types make tidy edgings, mounds of color in rock gardens, good container plants.

True asters are adapted to most soils, but growth is most luxuriant in fertile soil. They have few problems except for mildew on leaves in late fall. Strong-growing hybrids have invasive roots; they can regrow from small fragments left in soil and spread to become nuisances. Divide yearly in late fall or early spring. Replant vigorous young divisions from outside of clump; discard old center. Divide smaller, tufted, less vigorously growing kinds every 2 years.

Aster x frikartii (photo courtesy of Norman A. Plate)
Aster x frikartii (photo courtesy of Norman A. Plate)

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Aster x frikartii

One of the finest, most useful and widely adapted perennials. A hybrid between A. amellus and A. thomsonii, this is a hairy-leafed, lilac-flowered, 3-ft.-tall species native to the Himalayas. Bears abundant clear lavender to violet-blue single flowers that are 2 1/2 in. across. Open growth to 2 ft. tall and wide. Blooms early summer to fall—almost all year in mild-winter areas if spent flowers are removed regularly. May be short-lived.

‘Monch’ and ‘Wonder of Staffa’ are favorites with blossoms in lavender-blue.

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