Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, September 27, 2010

Please, Pardon My Big Aster!


Geeze it's bigger then ever!



In spite of the drought, this tall drink of water has put on a good show, again.
It makes me smile each September when it begins to bloom~


When a dear gardening friend shared Aster tataricus with me, she warned that it spread by rhizomes and that I might be sorry. I have never been sorry. It's done exactly what I hoped~Created an attractive swath of flowers late in the season that are also a magnet for pollinators. From early September until heavy frosts in November its blooms are covered with bees of all kinds, skippers and butterflies. Local monarchs love it!



My friend's warning should be kept in mind~Tatarian aster is an aggressive colonizer.* Especially, in moist, rich soil. By no stretch of the imagination does Clay and Limestone have moist, rich soil. But, in a year with ample rainfall, this aster will increase. It's planted at the base of an oak tree, with stone paths confining it on two sides and equally assertive native plants on the others. Like many colonizing plants, it's best to divide it every few years to keep its vigor and to keep it in check. I move the divisions to other spots in the garden that need a pop of pretty lavender flowers in the fall.


If you think you want a flowering plant that's tall and aggressive; with large, abundant flat-topped clusters of lavender flower heads that bloom until frost; that attracts pollinators and is adored by monarchs; that has rather coarse looking, large basal leaves, slightly reminiscent of tobacco, then Aster tatarian is your guy! Plant him in the back of the border, or where ever you want to make a statement along with Joe Pye Weed, Verbena bonariensis or naturalized with native ex-asters and False Dragonhead and let them duke it out!
False Dragonhead and Tatarian Aster duking it out


The Facts, Ma'am, just the facts:

Zones 3 to 9
Asteraceae Family
Native No
Native range: Siberia
Perennial
Cultivars available
3 to 8 feet tall
2 to 5 foot spread
Blooms September to Frost
Violet or Lavender flowers with yellow center
Medium shade to full sun
Non native plant
Moist soil (will be aggressive) *Alert* In my garden, it's not aggressive; but, it might be in yours.


Gail

I've written about Tatarian aster before~go here

33 comments:

  1. It is very pretty. Does it self-sow, in addition to colonizing?

    Very pretty, very tempting, but I think most years in my garden it would probably just be a a big old thuggish pain in the aster.

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  2. Carol, I think it would be a big pain in your aster! gail

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  3. Dear Gail, it is wonderful in your garden, this big aster! Like your Clay and Limestone, the Fairegarden holds the thugs in check for the most part. We wish it to colonize a bit more. Thanks for sharing a shared plant with me. Like friends holding hands across the miles! :-)
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  4. From Siberia! I could grow it! Maybe it could outcompete the wild parsnip?

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  5. Kathy, You could! it's a fantastic plant, but a bit of a thug in moist soil. gail

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  6. Lovely post Gail! Beautiful shot of the Monarchs! I think your graceful thug might just fit perfectly here in my jungle! Thanks so much for the introduction. ;>)

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  7. Year one I had 1-2 stalks. Last year 4-5. This year almost 10. It spreads in moist clay, that's for sure!

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  8. I find your big aster quite lovely, dear Gail!

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  9. It's very nice, and I bet it would be hard-pressed to get out of control here in the clay which is certainly not nutrient rich and not consistently moist. But I am concerned that because of its large size there wouldn't really be anywhere to put it...

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  10. Niche sells this aster I think, I'll have to try it out. It's lovely.

    Did you get any rain?

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  11. Sweetbay, Not one drop! I am so ill from it all~I think the garden that has been here is gone! gail

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  12. I love the pic of the bee flying toward the aster!

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  13. LOVE your asters! And, thanks for all the info!

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  14. We have something that I think is an aster that blooms in early October. The stems are rough feeling and sort of twisted together looking. I have tried to figure out what they are but can't. I adore asters (even if their names have been changed).
    Sallysmom

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  15. Gail, I have to have this for my new garden by the woods. Loving my new cottage since I moved from Nashville.

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  16. Hi Gail, that combination with false dragonhead is very nice - gives the aster a solid base to work off of! Love that shot with the monarchs - beautiful!

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  17. This year anything that can survive drought and tropical temperatures AND bloom late is good in my book. (Plus I have big a soft spot for aggressive thugs - especially at home. They're like a whole bunch of free plants!) I love your picture with the hovering bumble!

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  18. Oh my Gail, you do have a big aster, LOL! Lovely lavender color though. We have a native white aster that volunteers here, but my aster isn't as big as yours :P

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  19. That is one big beautiful Aster! I want one just like it! ;-)

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  20. Gail I am so sorry you didn't get rain -- I am hoping for you that many of the plants will go dormant and not die... when we had a drought here a few years back and Raleigh forbid watering, several gardeners noted the next year that their garden recovered well the next spring.

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  21. This is one big pain in the aster that I put up with. He (I noticed in your post it is a he) stands tall no matter what the weather. I am still awaiting blooms though. It won't be long especially if we get some rain. Do you have any spare rain down there??

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  22. Oh dear, oh dear. You gave me a start of this last fall, Gail, and I've been looking for mine all fall. But now that I see your photos, I think I may have accidentally pulled mine up, thinking it was a weed:( If indeed it was the Aster tartaricus I pulled, it had already colonized in the butterfly garden! If I see any come up next spring, I think I might move them to a more suitable place:)

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  23. Whatever Monarchs love, I love! However, bunnies have eaten every aster that I've ever planted.

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  24. Hi Gail, asters are such a useful plant at this time of year.
    I have found most aster invasive in my garden. The soil generally is moist and very fertile.

    Love the soft lavender blooms....beautifully captured.

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  25. Hi, Gail;
    I wonder if I could keep it in check in my dry soil? It's certainly tempting. That butterfly photo is just stunning!

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  26. Nice plant here. I remember your other post about it too.

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  27. All gorgeous gardens need great big asters!!! It helps fill them out! I'm adding some aster 'Monch' to mine this fall. Big and beautiful = more butt-erflies!

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  28. Gail! This Aster tatarian interest me! Perhaps I can tuck him in the back of my wooded property in my NEW woodland garden!
    I like the idea of wildflowers growing throughout my wooded garden!
    I've been away from blogging and it is so good to be back visitng friends! hugs

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  29. Yep you do have one big aster! It looks great though. I bet it would look fantastic in and among a sea of ironweed and goldenrod this time of year!

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  30. Hahahahahaha...moist soil...wait a minute...hahahahah. Ok. I'm done. Wouldn't be invasive here! Must be great to have so many people admiring your aster. I think it's fabulous! (BTW - you are too, too funny!)

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  31. It's very pretty, but I don't have room for something that wants to take over.

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  32. Up to 8 feet tall - wow! I like it!

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  33. I remember you posting about this gigantic aster before Gail. It really is a show-stopper. I'm glad the Monarchs are enjoying it too.
    Good to hear it's cooled off for you. I know you have lots of work to do! Have a great weekend.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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