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Selecting Asters for Your Garden

Asters provide a spot of color in the autumn garden and late season nectar for many beneficial insects.

Asters are a diverse group of plants but can be lumped into three groups based on their native habitat and preferred growing conditions. Those native to meadows, prairies, marshes, and roadsides prefer full sun. Some require evenly moist soil while others are a bit more drought tolerant.

The second group are also sun loving but prefer cool nights and require rich well-drained soils. The third group includes woodland asters that tolerate deep shade but flower best in partial sun. These need moist rich soil but will tolerate dry conditions.

Richard Hawke at the Chicago Botanic Garden did A Comparative Study of Cultivated Asters in 2013.  He provides insight into the group of plants and information that can help you select the best asters for your garden.

A bit more information: What we know as asters have been divided into different groups, including Doellingeria, Eurybia, and Symphyotrichum.  Fortunately, you can still find them under their old botanical name as well.

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