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

Monday, October 3, 2011

Would You Please Pardon My Big Aster, One More Time?



Hokey Smokes!  I can't believe it's that big!


 Although, not from around these parts, Aster tataricus,  has been making its home at Clay and Limestone for at least a decade.  It's a big and tall beauty that makes me smile when it blooms in late September.


 When a  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 is also a magnet for pollinators.

From early September until heavy frosts in November its blooms are covered with bees, skippers and butterflies.  That makes me happy. 


This garden is big enough to take on a tall glass of water like Tartar Aster.  It also has the perfect conditions to keep a cheeky fellow like this in check....dry soil.  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.

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!
Just in case it decides to become too big for  its britches~I've planted False Dragonhead in its path.   Those two colonizers can duke it out in a rainy year.

 I'm not recommending that you plant this guy in your garden*.  I can't promise you that it  won't be an aggressive thug. But,  if you can handle that,  I can promise you  pretty aster flowers  that bloom until  your first frost and many happy pollinators. 
Aster tataricus is a magnet for local and migrating Monarch butterflies

I'm also pretty sure that a few butterfly will stop by to nectar on them.

xxoogail

*The Facts: Not a native. Tall aster that needs no staking and blooms from September until November.   Grows in most soils, needs dividing regularly and can create quite a colony in the perfect conditions. Hardy to Zone 3 and tolerates Southern heat and humidity well.  Most of the growing season AT is a basal rosette of large paddle shaped sandpapery leaves that grow up to 24 in (61 cm) long and 6 in (15 cm) wide with long petioles and toothed margins.  It reminds me of flowering tobacco.  I like the rosettes and they go a long way to solving  Small Leaf Syndrome that plagues my garden.  WARNING WILL ROBINSON: Under ideal growing conditions, tatarian aster can spread aggressively by its rhizomes, and take over a flower bed. (source)


23 comments:

  1. I have gone Aster crazy this fall...adding more to my garden. These are beautiful!

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  2. I must not have perfect conditions for it either. It grows and moves around a little but it has never been a what I would consider a thug.Nothing like the obedient plant. I love looking those beautiful puplish/blue flowers straight in the eye.

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  3. Sometimes it can be easier to overlook thuggish behavior when the blossoms are so beautiful. Just keep your spade close.

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  4. Once more the crossover between those purple plants in both our gardens is amazing. Love your big A.

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  5. Happy to see the big guy again, dear Gail! The one you gave me is finally blooming for the first time this year, no way am I tall enough to get a photo, without a ladder. Colonizes? Not here, but I love it! Thanks again, my friend.
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  6. That aster is compelling, but I think I'll pass. I have willow aster, Aster praealtus, which is also a spreading type and I must keep it in check.

    I'll just come here and enjoy yours.~~Dee

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  7. I only have one aster, Alma Potchke who is pretty and pink, but I need more. I will get more. I've got the catalog out right now.

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  8. I always love your photos. And, I always learn something from every post. Thank you. It is a good way to start the day.

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  9. Beautiful Gail! Tall is good! Maybe I could plant some in with the sea of bishops weed and it would take over. Great photos as usual.

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  10. Pięknie ponownie kwitnie i jest radością dla owadów.Pozdrawiam

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  11. No apologies necessary...it is gorgeous!!!

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  12. I'm tempted to ask for a division but those aggressive tendencies do give me pause! Still, the pollinator community here at Wit's End would probably love those blooms!

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  13. No asters here :(
    Think I have to redo my gardens...so dull compared to yours.
    Always next year.

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  14. Love your gorgeous pictures! Impressive Aster :)

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  15. I remember seeing these at the Chicago Botanic Garden in late September last year--they are gorgeous! Thanks for the warning about their aggressive tendencies; they would have to duke it out with my obedient plant, too.

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  16. Looking at your bees and butterflies, they're not sorry you planted it either!

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  17. I've contemplated getting this aster ever since seeing it in a Niche Gardens catalog. Why don't I have it already?

    :)

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  18. Gail,

    These asters are something aren't they. We brought some from Meg's place, this one is hard to kill. Love the flowers. Just recently posted asking what these were.

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  19. Im impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog thats both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head.

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  20. just buzzing in cause I heard there were bees and a very large aster!

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  21. How cool that you have room for such a beauty! I wish I would have done a better job keeping track of what kind of asters I've planted. I don't think any of mine are this kind, because they aren't so tall. I do have one that reseeds and has flowers similar to those.

    I did a search to see if false dragonhead is obedient plant, and it is. That stuff is too aggressive for me to plant here. There is some in a flower bed at church that I pull out when I get a chance, because it wants to take over. That's too bad, because it is a pretty flower.

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  22. WOW...your photos are amazing!!! and a thinker too....(proust) I will read more!!! Do you know where Hoenwald is?

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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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