PLANT LATE-SUM­MER ASTERS

Add a blast of colour to borders and containers, and keep the pol­li­na­tors happy

Garden Answers (UK) - - Easy Gardening -

Asters are a clas­sic cot­tage gar­den plant that bring the gar­den to life in late sum­mer, adding a blast of colour to pots and borders. They’re also a key source of nec­tar and pollen for in­sects. There are three main types of aster – Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (New York asters), which tend to be prone to mildew, Symphyotrichum no­vae-an­gliae (New Eng­land asters) and Euro­pean asters such as Aster amel­lus. To add to the pro­fu­sion of names, sev­eral years ago asters were re­grouped into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories and re­named. Some of the best are now known as ‘symphyotrichum’, but what­ever you call them, they’re well worth grow­ing. For best re­sults grow them along­side grasses, such as molinia and mis­cant­hus, which will help to hide their scruffy lower stems, sedums, or el­e­gant white-flow­ered Ja­panese anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’. Most asters thrive in full sun, in any moist but well-drained soil. Trim them back straight af­ter flow­er­ing to keep them look­ing neat.

SUM­MER’S FI­NALE Plant blue aster ‘Mönch’ for a late-sea­son spec­ta­cle, shown here with se­dum and Acer pal­ma­tum ‘Dis­sec­tum’

Eury­bia di­var­i­cata Known as the white wood aster, this is happy in dry shade. H and S60cm (2ft)

Aster amel­lus ‘Veilchenköni­gin’ Com­pact up­right pur­ple-flow­ered aster. H and S40cm (16in)

S. noviae-an­gliae ‘Septem­ber­ru­bin’ Deep pink with large yel­low cen­tres. H and S1.2m (4ft)

S. ‘Lit­tle Car­low’ Bushy peren­nial with clouds of vi­o­let-blue flow­ers. H90cm (3ft) S45cm (18in)

S. no­vae-an­gliae ‘Quin­ton Men­zies’ Tall stemmed with bright pink blooms. H1.5m (5ft) S80cm (32in)

Aster frikar­tii ‘Mönch’ Long-flow­er­ing with slen­der lilac-blue petals. H90cm (3ft) S40cm (16in)

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