Providing a bold splash of color in the late season garden with its masses of lavender-blue starry flowers, Italian Aster (Aster amellus) is one of the first Asters to bloom, doesn't need staking and is not sensitive to mildew. Native to Europe, it is easy to grow, is long lived, brings cheerful fall color and is a great source of nectar for butterflies! As opposed to the New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) or the New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii), it doesn't produce tall, pyramidal plants, but the size and beauty of its blossoms, coupled with its neat and compact habit, make the Italian Aster among the most desirable of all Fall Asters.
- Blooming for many weeks from late summer to mid fall, this eye-catching beauty easily enlivens any sunny corner of the garden. Multi-stemmed, most Italian Asters form lovely star-shaped blossoms, up to 2 in. wide (5 cm), usually in shades of violet-blue although some cultivars can be pale pink to deep purple-pink. The flowering sprays are upright with woody stems clad with hairy lanceolate to obovate leaves.
- Fast growing, up to 16-30 in. tall (40-70 cm)
- Thrives in full sun in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Moderately fertile, alkaline soils are preferred. Provide good air circulation to avoid foliage diseases such as powdery mildew. Drought tolerant!
- Vital ingredient of late summer and fall borders, cottage gardens, prairies or butterfly gardens. Asters are also valued for the excellent quality of their cut flowers.
- Asters are a must if you are trying to attract birds or butterflies!
- Pinch back stems before early summer to promote bushiness and produce a greater number of flowers.
Aster amellus, commonly known as Italian Aster, belongs to the Asteraceae family, which also includes yarrows, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers. The Genus Aster contains over 600 species and thousands of hybrid varieties, providing a wide choice to pick from, as they all vary in habit, height, flower color, leaf shape and growing conditions.