Aster

Michaelmas Daisies

We never tire of Aster’s cheerful daisy faces and the profusion of colors and sizes that make up this genus, from 6 ft. giants to tiny dwarf alpines. Our Asters, large and small, are tried and true performers in ordinary garden soil and full sun. Generally late summer bloomers, they provide lots of oomph when other perennials have petered out.

<i>Aster asperulus</i>

With a not-too-tall, high-spirited presentation of lavender-blue daisies, this compact, rarely offered Aster should find its way into more gardens.

Sturdy, wine-tinged, open branched stems maintain a pert straight-up stance carrying the big buds and two in. wide, thin rayed flowers. Rising above unusual, large green leaves distinguished by toothed margins, prominent veins and a somewhat fuzzy surface, the long blooming, sunny-eyed blossoms make a vivacious match for the darkly beautiful Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ above our stone wall.

Blooms late July–October.

Size: 15" high x 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Blooming long after other flowers have faded, Asters are associated with afterthought and cheerfulness in old age. This Ed Carman selection is one of the largest Asters we offer, with clean-looking foliage right to the ground on strong, upright stems culminating in sprays of blue-violet flowers. Bring cheer to the fading days of summer by planting ‘Bill’s Big Blue’ with Helianthus and other stately late bloomers.

Blooms late September–early November

Size: 4' 0" – 5' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Kudos to Dr. Jim Ault at the Chicago Botanic Garden for this recently introduced distinctive Aster ‘Snow Flurry’ descendant. Fine textured close-knit branches with small linear green leaves grow upward, then somewhat horizontally before assuming a unique weeping aspect during the summer, which is heightened by a phenomenal profusion of ½ in. wide pure white flowers. The long-lasting floral train nearly veils the entire plant and lays claim to its name, while ‘Bridal Veil’s stoic habit handles drought, salt spray and mildew.

Blooms mid-September–early October

Size: 2' 0" high x 4-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Aster</i> ‘Cassie’

Pretty pink 1-½ in. flowers gather in festive clusters as they top sturdy stems clad in toothed linear foliage. Several layers of frilly petals swirl around the bright yellow eyes, delivering spirited color to the front lines of a perennial border, while Gaura ‘Pink Cloud’ and the darkly red Angelica gigas take up the rear.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 18" – 2' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aster</i> ‘Coombe Fishacre’

With a billowy habit, a reliable floriferous nature and fine foliage that looks dapper all season long, ‘Coombe Fishacre’ is one of our favorite Asters. Its deep green leaves cover sweeping branches all the way down, while a slew of lilac flowers warmed by rosy brown centers roost above. Well after the blooms have faded, the seed heads add intriguing colors and shapes.

This first-class Aster never needs staking and can be planted in large drifts amid Miscanthus ‘Nippon’, Molinia ‘Bergfreund’ or Eupatorium ‘Gateway’ for glowing pink echoes.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Aster cordifolius</i>

FTD should get to know this perky, rarely seen Aster, and so should you. Buds form early and fool us into thinking they’re about to bloom, but they wait until the plant reaches full height. When it does, a mass of blue-violet on erect, wiry, wine red stems leaves us breathless. Try planting Teucrium f. ‘Azureum’ in front and Molinia ‘Windspiel’ as a backdrop. When flowering ends, we find the stems and seed heads of Aster cordifolius so delightful, we leave them on for winter interest.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 4' 0" – 5' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Selected from a versatile Aster indigenous to our southeastern mountains, ‘Avondale’ greets fall with a jovial long lasting barrage of small, yellow-eyed pale lavender-blue daisies atop tidy slender green foliage. Acquiescent to varied light, it exhibits an upright open habit in sunny spots and becomes more relaxed and arching in darker recesses. Ignored by deer, but coveted by butterflies, floral arrangers, and gardeners, this floriferous wonder endures dry shade once established, favors well-drained soil and can be planted en masse along woodland fringes, meandering amid Geranium ‘White Ness’.

Blooms mid-August–early October.

Size: 20" – 2-1/2' high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Aster cordifolius</i> ‘Chieftain’

Lifted on tall strong stems, a starry haze of umpteen, tiny, pale lavender-blue daisies lining branched upright sprays earned this impressive celebrity an AGM award and a place in our garden. Rich green tailored foliage stays fresh, while the sunny-eyed flowers lend an ethereal look to the fall landscape that can be juxtaposed against the coarser beauty of Vernonia crinita. Let shrubby roses or more sturdy perennials provide support in the back of the border, otherwise it will need staking or a spring pinching to ensure a shorter stature.

Blooms mid-August – October.

Size: 5' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

‘Little Carlow’ is lush and cheerful. Its flowers are larger and a deeper violet-blue than those of Aster cordifolius, and they have bright yellow centers. The green leaves, which reach to the ground, are also broader and darker. It blends well with tall grasses like Calamagrostis and Panicums and contrasts with yellow flowering plants such as Achillea ‘Marmalade’.

Blooms mid-August–early October.

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Aster divaricatus (P-0023)

Each $7.75

AVAILABLE SPRING 2019

<i>Aster divaricatus</i>

Small white flowers like finely cut daisies, with a yellow center, and elongated heart-shaped, coarsely toothed, dark green leaves, are displayed in large clusters on sinuous, purple-black stems. This Aster is better-known in Europe, where it’s used to light up shady urban gardens. We find it indispensable in the country too, for its tolerance of dry, shady sites. A good plant for the front of the border, try it with Hypericum kouytchense or broad-leafed perennials.

Blooms mid-July–September.

Size: 15" – 18" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Our anticipation soars as we wait for round buds to finally unfurl a galaxy of small starry blooms twinkling in rose-tinged lilac shades. Beneath the profuse late season display, tiny green leaves stay fresh for months, garnishing stiff branching stems, which angle out and form a well-mannered mound. Illuminated by citron-yellow centers with red streaks, the dainty daisies easily gratify companions like Achillea ‘Hella Glashoff’ or Origanum ‘Bristol Cross’.

Blooms mid-August–September.

Size: 2' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Mirroring autumn’s warmth, this Aster’s unexpected golden floral hues bring a glittery Midas touch to the late season border. Arching branched sprays of copious small daisies with narrow buff white petals and prominent rich yellow centers rise above the well-groomed, dense leafy clump, which makes a congenial neighbor for Astrantias and Pennisetum spathiolatum.

Blooms September – October.

Size: 2-1/2' – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

Beloved by late season garden aficionados, florists and butterflies, this exceptional Aster spotlights wispy crisp white clouds of petite yellow-centered daisies hovering above well-tailored tiny green leaves that form a vigorous bushy clump. ‘Monte Cassino’s’ delicate illuminated texture becomes a simple-to-place ethereal filler, perfect for juxtaposing against bolder perennials such as Persicaria or Crocosmia.

Blooms late August–September.

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’ (P-0025)

Each $7.75

AVAILABLE SPRING 2019

<i>Aster</i> x <i>frikartii</i> ‘Mönch’

In some gardening circles, ‘Mönch’ is acclaimed as one of the ten best perennials. Prolific, 2-1/2 in. lavender flowers bloom lavishly for months on end. The clear color blends with so many others: light pink Geranium renardii ‘Mavis Simpson’, Phlomis lanata, Penstemon ‘Ruby’ and those yellow Kniphofia ‘Vanilla’.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 18" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

If you are looking for a Aster with engaging late season color, impeccably handsome mildew resistant foliage and a medium-sized frame that never needs staking, look no farther! Clad in glabrous, bluish green leaves, the vase-shaped clump showcases numerous broad, bouquetlike clusters of single, one inch wide, delicately rayed petals gathered by gilded centers. The jubilant floral display is elevated on red-hued stems and seems to cover the entire top half of the plant. Undeterred by varied moisture levels and soil types, ‘Bluebird’ is a Mt. Cuba Center introduction.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 4' 0" high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Unfurling later than most Asters, droves of spectacular soft blue-mauve flowers embroidered with yellow eyes signal autumn's arrival on beefy upright stalks. This erect strong growing perennial dons dense dark green leaves that maintain their winsome mildew-free appeal ‘till the caramel-colored seed heads begin to fade. A compelling presence for the mixed border, ‘Climax’ complements other fall bloomers such as Helianthus ‘Dakota Queen’ and Persicaria ‘Fat Domino’.

Blooms mid-September–October

Size: 2-1/2' – 5' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Aster lateriflorus ‘Bleke Bet’ (P-1303)

Each $7.75

AVAILABLE MID SEPTEMBER 2018

Purchased when we were touring British nurseries nearly 20 years ago and sadly forgotten about, this peerless Aster recently grabbed our attention. Dashing, deep purple-infused green foliage and dense well-branched twiggy stems lift an exuberant profusion of small, rose-centered white daisies, whose fine-hewn petals mature with soft pink shades. Strong, tall and upstanding, seldom offered ‘Bleke Bet’ delivers late, long-lasting flowers plus refined texture, while escorting companions such as Eryngium yuccifolium and Calamagrostis ‘Cheju-Do’.

Blooms September–October

Size: 4' 0" – 4-1/2' high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aster lateriflorus</i> ‘Lady in Black’

Shrouded in mysterious tiny black-purple foliage, ‘Lady in Black’ offers sprays of small white flowers with a healthy blush of pink. Unlike ‘Prince’s tight clumping habit, this tall and elegant Dutch lady has spreading upright stems that spread over time.

Blooms September–October.

Size: 3-1/2' – 4' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

A preeminent star of the fall show, ‘White Lovely’ entertains petite, thin-petaled white daisies tinged lilac when mature and brightened by sunny-side-up yellow eyes. The copious, late summer flowers are borne along horizontally branched leafy sprays of arching and wide-angled, purple-streaked stems with small, slender dark green foliage that never tuckers out.

We like to plant Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ and Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ behind while headlining this elegant Aster right up front.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

A “real winner” is how the late celebrated plantsman and author Christopher Lloyd described this form of our versatile eastern North American native Aster. Slow spreading rhizomes plus toothed heart-shaped leaves compile an attractive green basal rosette, bearing upright red-imbued stalks and broad, openly branched flat-topped clusters of rich lavender blue daisies with yellow centers that age to rose. Floriferous, mildew-free and adaptable, ‘Twilight’ can tolerate dry shady niches and serve as an easy-care ground cover at a woodland’s edge or be added to cottage gardens and perennial borders.

Blooms August–September

Size: 2-1/2' – 3' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Aster novae-angliae</i> ‘Harrington’s Pink’

Celebrated by Graham Stuart Thomas for conveying “much garden charm,” this well-loved Aster’s attraction is her pink flowers and her tall profile. Lavish quantities of delicate gold-centered daisies house nearly 50 layered, extra fine rays each, while cresting thick, straight, somewhat woody branched stalks.

Bred by Mr. Hilliard from Williamsburg, Iowa, the robust, grayish green clump crowded with stem-clasping, bristle-rough, 4 to 5 in. long leaves tolerates wet soil and some shade, resists mildew and can accompany Sedum ‘Indian Chief’ and blue blooming Asters.

Blooms August – September.

Size: 3' 0" – 5' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

Lose yourself, like the linear, dark green fuzzy foliage, in a sea of royal purple flowers held on erect stems. Mildew resistant, compact and bushy, the handsome symmetrical mound becomes engulfed with 1-½ in. wide, golden-eyed, vividly colored daisies in a truly breathtaking spectacle, especially when planted en masse.

Dr. Richard Lighty developed this easy-care, late season show stopper that makes a sterling addition to arrangements and a captivating counterpoint to Stipa arundinacea.

Blooms August – early October.

Size: 18" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

<i>Aster novi-belgii</i> ‘Blue Danube’

This Aster’s alluring flowers promise a late season hurrah. Supported by stiff branching stems lined with verdant linear foliage, the blooms are the size of silver dollars, and layers of their closely set blue-violet petals radiate from yellow and maroon centers. ‘Blue Danube’ lends an air of elegance in the midst of Calamagrostis brachytricha and Angelica gigas.

Blooms September–early October.

Size: 3' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

When this cultivar first bloomed in our garden, we were delighted to see such large flowers! A breathtaking contrast of pure white blossoms against handsome, verdant foliage with wine-colored veins creates a presentation even more spectacular than that of ‘Climax’. Combine with Origanum ‘Ed Carmine’ for a showy summer farewell.

Blooms September–early October.

Size: 2-1/2' – 5' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Introduced in 1960 by the legendary South Dakota-born cattle rancher and plantsman Claude Barr, this hard-working native plains Aster may be small on stature but is big on bloom. Densely arranged low spreading gray-green leaves forge a vigorous sturdy base that puts on a mighty fine fall showing of sweet sugary pink daisies with burnt orange centers. Withstanding drought, some afternoon shade and a wide range of soil, including clay, ‘Dream of Beauty’s remarkable floral output and tailored compact habit can be staged atop a garden wall or along a pathway.

Blooms September–October

Size: 12" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aster oblongifolius</i> ‘October Skies’

Named for copius sunny-centered, fine-rayed daisies which mirror the azure atmosphere of a New England autumn day, this Aster was also selected for its tidy short stature and easygoing, stalwart disposition. Its small, narrow green leaves emit a light scent when handled and form a close-knit, low bushy mound, withstanding poor sites with dry, rocky or sandy soils. While the species is one of the last wildflowers to bloom in the eastern U.S., 'October Skies's lavender-blue flowers naturally look good after an early frost, make a jaunty additional to an arrangement and always beckon butterflies or other winged visitors.

Blooms September-October

Size: 18" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Zone 5.

Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ (P-1611)

Each $7.75

AVAILABLE LATE NOVEMBER 2018

Mr. Raydon Alexander of San Antonio, Texas, said this hearty mint-scented Aster was his favorite, and we’re sure you’ll agree. Originating near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, drought tolerant ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ quickly forges a valiant, dense mound that gets buried under multitudes of bright blue-lavender daisies. With late richly colored flowers, distinguished by sunlit yellow eyes and fine-textured single rays, and a no-fuss, orderly nature, it proves indispensable in the fall border.

Blooms September – October.

Size: 3' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Aster</i> ‘Ochtendgloren’

Conjuring a zestful spirit as summertime wanes, this elegant Aster parades branched heads of dainty pink starlike blooms and darker pink buds. The long and narrow, densely set foliage that lines its stiff, sturdy stems is handsome right to the ground. Claiming Aster pringlei lineage, ‘Ochtendgloren’ merrily partners with Pennisetum ‘Moudry’ and Geranium ‘Buxton’s Variety’ in front of our Beech hedge.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 4' 0" – 5' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aster pyrenaeus</i> ‘Lutetia’

‘Lutetia’ is one of our favorite low growing Asters, and by summer’s end you’ll see why. Its pink buds open into a charming blanket of large, yellow-centered, pastel daisies with delicately splayed lavender petals, completely hiding the loose mound of finely textured foliage and intertwined, wiry, deep purple stems.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 18" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ (P-0632)

Each $7.75

AVAILABLE SPRING 2019

<i>Aster tataricus</i> ‘Jindai’

The name may sound like one of the bad guys from Star Wars, but this unique Aster is definitely on our side with its upright bearing and lush textural appeal. Not as towering as its moisture-loving Asian counterpart, ‘Jindai’ spawns huge, serrated rough-to-the-touch leafage on stout shorter stalks and abundant branched sprays of late-blooming violet flowers engraved by large saffron eyes. A stand-alone for the mixed border, its assertive look can offset finer textured plants like Spiraea ‘Ogon’ and Phlox ‘David’.

Blooms September–November

Size: 3' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

<i>Aster turbinellus</i>

With a carefree cant, green, lance-shaped leaves have a lively look all season. Lean, dark violet-streaked stems give way to airy, lavender-colored sprays of glassine blossoms whose open petals are caught in a vivid yellow center. The red hues in the stems of Panicum ‘Shenandoah’ and Echinops enliven this Aster’s rich verdure.

Blooms September–October.

Size: 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

Prized for an ebullient white floral display that’s both early and long lasting above plucky green leaves and an amenable pest-free bent, this mostly eastern American native gives you good reason to usher it into your garden. The straight staunch stalks yield ovate to lanceolate-shaped leaves beneath niveous, flat-topped branching clusters of spaced, thin-rayed flowers with creamy yellow centers. Beloved by bees and butterflies, Aster umbellatus is well-suited for cottage gardens, nectaries and sunny perennial borders, favoring moist sandy sites but adapting to dry conditions as well as clay soil and some shade.

Blooms August–September

Size: 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Helianthus 'Sheila's Sunshine', Persicaria 'Summer Dance', and Selinum wallichianum

Helianthus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine - P-0461

The sunflower was once an emblem of the Sun God of the Incas. Our sunflowers tolerate a wide range of garden soils, attract bees, and make great cut flowers. Blooms early August – October.

Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ - P-1312

With foliage that’s close to lime-green, and spiky floral tails that approach the scarlet spectrum of rosy pink, this slow spreading perennial is sure to please. Happiest in semishade with ample moisture. Blooms August–November.

Selinum wallichianum - P-1406

This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels.

Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, and appreciates a well draining moist niche. Blooms June–August.

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