The Aster flower (Asteraceae) is sometimes called the Starwort by English gardeners. They are at their best in the autumn when they brighten up your borders or containers with colourful daisy-like flowers.
Folklore tells how burning the leaves of the aster flower would keep snakes away though I wouldn't advise that you try it.
The name Aster is Latin for star, the shape of this English Garden flower.
The French had a special tradition for the aster flower. This flower would be placed on the grave of a French soldier, as a tribute to his bravery and valor.
Aster flowers grow up to 2' tall and bloom from late summer through autumn to the first frosts.
There are many to choose from - Asters come in white, pink, blue or purple, with yellow centres and all sizes from rock plants to tall back of the border varieties.
There are asters to suit many garden situations wet areas near streams or ponds, flower borders, rock gardens, and dry sites. So take a visit to your local garden centre and have a browse through their collection of asters.
How to grow.
Asters are very easy to grow. They will grow in just about any climate.
- However they do best in a suny spot and tolerate partial shade.
- They prefer fertile soil and like a good mulch after they have died down in late autumn early winter.
- Generally they don't like the soil to dry out completely so water if there's been no rain for a few days.
- You can divide the clumps in the spring every two or three years to get two or more plants. This will allow them to flower freely.
- Try growing the taller ones with Japanese anemones or crocosmias.
Give some of these lovely star-shaped flowers a try in your own garden!
The Michaelmas daisy or New York aster is the most well known aster
Look out for these - Mount Everest has white flowers
Nesthäkchen' has reddish pink flowers
'Carnival'has lovely bright pink flowers and there are loads more varieties!
Aster novae-angliae (zones 4-8) Harrington’s pink - Has daisy like flowers that are pink with yellow centres. Grows 48 to 60 inches and needs staking.
Aster amellus 'Veilchenkönigin' has a long name but a lovely deep violet, yellow-centred daisies and dark leaved foliage.
Aster novi-belgi (zones 4-8)- Orlando is smaller, growing to 36 inches also with pink flowers with yellow centres.
Enjoy your garden!