Aster Plant Profile

As autumn advances, most flowers fade to a shadow of their former self: only asters stand perky and pristine, a mass of daisy-like flowers aglow in sun or dampened by dew. Closely related, both Michaelmas daisies and New England asters come in such a wonderful range of clear, bright reds, pinks, purples and violets, it is reminiscent of a bag of dolly mixture sweets. Standing shoulder high, the flowers open at eye level where the finer differences between varieties can be fully appreciated, attracting bees and butterflies in search of pollen. Asters grow best in a sunny spot, in fertile soil that retains moisture during the summer. All asters combine well with other late flowering perennials — coneflowers, golden rod, Japanese anemones, heleniums and eupatorium — and ornamental grasses.

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