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Plant Profile: Aromatic Aster (Aster oblongifolius)

Asters are always welcome in the fall when other plants are fading, and aromatic aster is one of the last asters to bloom. A profusion of blue flowers with yellow centers are produced on bushy plants that continue blooming for 1-2 months. Although the flowers are not fragrant the crushed foliage has a pleasant aroma and is attractive all summer before the flowers appear. It spreads by creeping rhizomes. A native of rocky slopes, meadows, and savannas of eastern and central United States, aromatic aster is useful in the border as well in a meadow garden. It is an outstanding wildflower and has given rise to some cultivars such as ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ and ‘October Skies’.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Masses of lilac blue flowers with yellow centers are produced for a month or two in fall until the first frost.

Foliage: Leaves are alternate, 2” long and ½” wide, and slightly pubescent. They have a strong aroma when crushed, giving rise to the common name of the plant

Size: 1-2’ H x 4’ W

Light: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Poor, dry well-drained; average moisture tolerated if well-drained

Fertilizer: Excessive fertilizer will cause plants to flop

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care: Shear in June to control height and promote bushiness

Pests and Diseases: Foliage may be susceptible to powdery mildew

Propagation: Division in winter, spring or early summer

Companion plants: Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

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