Plant of the Month for Erie Colorado area landscapes-February 2023


Erie, Colorado area landscapes {Monthly Series}

Asters comprise about 160 species but the most common of those planted in our Erie Colorado landscapes are the Frikart’s Monch Aster, Alpine Asters, the novae-angliae or New York Aster and the novi-belgii or New York Aster varieties. Asters are a perennial flower that grows in a loamy well drained soil mixture. They may develop root rot if planted directly in our clay soils so be sure to amend the soil appropriately. They like partial shade to full sun, but won’t do well in full mid day sun, so give them some shade during the day.

One variety in particular, Calico Aster, will do better with more shade, as will the Alpine Asters. They are a medium water user, so finding a more moist location for them is better than being in the driest part of the garden. They range in height from 1’-4’ for the varieties planted here in Colorado. They come in a multitude of colors and can be started from seed in the middle of winter in small pots in a greenhouse. Transplant to the garden in mid to late spring and enjoy the late summer and fall blooms. They can be cut back in winter, or left for winter interest or for birds to take the seeds. They may reseed themselves, but you may not get the same color flower from new seedlings that were on the original plant. They generally have few pests and/or fungal issues here in Colorado due to our dry climate. Keeping them hydrated is a tougher challenge. Plant groupings of 5-7 in your herbaceous borders this spring and enjoy.

Photos by Szymon Ostrowski and Keith Williamson from Little Valley Wholesale Nursery, used by permission. Videos by Julius H. and hk637ss.

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