Plant of the Week: Aromatic Aster

Aromatic aster with butterfly
Aromatic aster with Dainty Sulphur Butterfly

Aromatic aster is our Plant of the Week for the 3rd week of October. This native perennial grows throughout the Great Plains and Midwest. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=syob

This is number 3 on my list of Top Ten Perennials for Pollinators. I cannot think of a better plant for gardens for late in the season. When October rolls around, this perennial starts outperforming everything.

Aromatic asters grow well in full sun to part shade and can handle extreme drought. My best bloomer is in part shade and actually gets more moisture than others.

This last-to-bloom aster makes up for it by blooming through frosts and hard freezes. It takes several hard freezes to kill this plant to the ground.

Aromatic asters are not only long-blooming and tough, they also support a large number of butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, flies, and more with late-season nectar and pollen. In one afternoon, I counted more than 30 species of insects coming for pollen and nectar.

This aster grows 3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. It reseeds, but not aggressively. Aster lacebugs can be an issue in hot, dry summers, but not if you have a biologically diverse landscape. Some butterflies and moths use it as a host plant for their larva.

You can find aromatic aster online at https://www.grimmsgardens.com/shop/. Or come out to our garden store at 2991 Goldfinch Road, Hiawatha, KS or in Nebraska City, NE.

Happy planting!

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