Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Easter Daisy, Aster novi-belgii

White Aster novi-belgii supported by Chondropetalum tectorum, Small Cape Rush

Aster novi-belgii
  New York aster, Easter daisy, Michaelmas daisy

This aster has been flowering its head off for weeks with clouds of snow white daisies. Because it is quite a big clump forming perennial it is usually recommended that stakes be provided to keep it upright. I am not a huge fan of staking anything, way too Joan of Arc, so I have tried to keep it upright by the combination of a nice piece of Sydney sandstone and a plant of the small cape rush which grows to about the same height. The stems of the rush have the habit of weaving their way through the aster and its chocolate brown segments, which have a sort of notch to them, also act as support. Easter daises are very tough plants and can be dug up and moved during their dormant time over winter. This plant has been moved twice. I did dig it up originally because I thought it would be easy to divide to make new plants but had no luck with that as it forms a really tight ball of roots . So I planted it roughly in a holding bed before deciding what to do with it. Now it seems quite happy in a new spot. The large growing asters can be difficult to find in a nursery as the dwarf forms which flower well in a pot make for a good impulse buy at a Garden Centre. The dwarf forms seem to be more prone to mildew which is not a problem with this tall one. The RHS encyclopedia of garden plants lists many different cultivars of these asters but I suspect few have made it into Australian gardens which is a pity because they are very hardy and reliable growers over a range of climates.

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