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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Entries in Aster (1)

Tuesday
Sep292009

Meet Aster Alma Potchke, a Late Season Perennial

This hardy New England Aster grows 3 feet tall in zones 3 to 8 for about 4 to 6 weeks during September and October. Its intense magenta-pink flowers, offset by light gold center eyes, will electrify the autumn garden. For best results this plant needs a southern exposure; otherwise it will kneel and crawl to follow the sun. Once it kneels, it cannot be straightened out. Once it starts crawling, it cannot be returned neatly to its upright posture. If there is no southern location, it is worth investing a few minutes to stake the plant in early July to prevent the kneeling and crawling. When staking, ensure that the stems are not crowded together. Leave a lot of room for air circulation around to prevent mildew.

Some gardeners dislike the legginess of this impressive plant. This Aster sheds leaves at its bottom to expose its stalks. These naked ankles may be camouflaged by planting mid height perennials to hide the view.

Aster Alma Potchke is not invasive and it is not an aggressive spreader. As long as it grows in an upright position, it will not appear messy as some other Asters and Chrysanthemums do. By the third year, it may become necessary to reduce the size of the plant. This is easily done by slicing through the root ball to remove excess growth.

While this is not a totally carefree perennial, the extra attention that this plant may require comes with a big payoff. Gardeners will be rewarded with a tall, intensely colored, plant that puts on a bold performance in the autumn garden. When it grows upright it is majestic.