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Can New England Asters be improved?

Posted by docmom z5 MI (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 13, 13 at 7:28

I adore New England Asters for their rich colored blooms that swarm with insects as the sun sinks southward for autumn and winter. However, as beautiful as the tops are, the bottoms are brown and crumpled and dead-looking. Is there any way to minimize the horrible bottom look? I do try to plant other things in front to hide their shame, but it's not satisfactory. Is this just a normal part of their life cycle? Or is it an illness or lack of water or something that can be treated? I'd like to avoid chemicals that would harm pollinating insect, since they are the whole purpose of the garden. I'm predicting the same response as in the past--sorry, deal with it,--but if anyone has anything different to say, I'd love to hear that, too.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can New England Asters be improved?

Definitely find New England asters need relatively frequent division to keep them looking healthy.

I probably divide them on an average of every three years.

The wild ones here run (prospecting for nutrients). It makes sense that the cultivated clump forming ones need periodic division with soil upgrading.

I like them as tall as they grow, so don't reduce their height.

RE: Can New England Asters be improved?

First few attempts with them years ago failed. Since then I figured out what works best for them, at least here. They do well in areas that don't stress them at all. AT ALL. So no competition from shrub/tree roots & in soil that doesn't dry out excessively (mine are planted slightly sunken). After figuring it out and finding the right situations for them (believe me, they are few and far between!!) there hasn't been too much bottom foliage issues, which there was plenty of in the beginning, lol.

RE: Can New England Asters be improved?

I agree with CMK. These plants do not handle stress very well. I've been extremely diligent with watering mine during this blasted drought we're in and everything looks great this year - no dead leaves at the bottom.


RE: Can New England Asters be improved?

The only ones I have with browning near the bottom are the ones that weren't getting enough water. I found out that some of my darn rainbirds don't always move back and forth, letting some areas dry out too much. The asters with enough water are all green, but sprawling over walkways like crazy. But the bees are going crazy for them all.

RE: Can New England Asters be improved?

Think renovating beds maintains the wider distribution of locations in which New England asters thrive in gardens.

Example (re above comments): I periodically hack out the nasty (superficial) roots of the neighbouring silver maples that invade our front flower beds. Have lots of healthy 'Alma Pötschke' in the front.

I'd consider adequate watering, when necessary, part of the the general maintenance of mixed perennial beds.

Find I have to stake all of our New England aster, except 'Purple Dome'.

Would be interesting to know what annual maintenance was done to maintain a Michaelmas daisy (fall) "room" in large Sissinghurst type gardens.

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 10:23

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