Is it annual or Perennial? Asters come in both perennial and annual varieties. Perennial asters are a huge group of plants, with star-like flowers and yellow centres. The annual aster makes a beautiful cut flower for a bouquet, available in rich pinks and purples. It’s great to have annual asters in a cutting garden as it is not always easy to find in flower shops.
When is an Aster not an Aster? The potted fall asters in garden centres are cultivars of the native New England Asters that bloom in the wild. Sadly, our native aster has recently been renamed by garden Taxonomists as Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. I think it’s going to be a while before that name comes trippingly off the tongue. I’m going to keep calling them asters for now!
Asters! What are they Good For? They extend the floral season, blooming right till frost. The vast range of colours they come in range from white to pink to purple. Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, love them. And they work well with so many other fall bloomers, like goldenrod (Solidago), chrysanthemums, Autumn Joy Sedum and grasses. Every garden should have a few asters. Plant a perennial one now, and you’ll enjoy it every fall for years.