Fall is butterfly time in the garden and there's nothing better for attracting these beautiful creatures to your garden than some colorful fall flowering perennials like the fall blooming asters in their vivid purples, pinks, reds, and blues.
Asters are some of the most colorful of the fall bloomers. These hardy natives are robust, drought resistant, and very floriferous. They come in a variety of colors from white to hot pink to rich purple and grow from 12" to 48" tall depending on the species. All varieties attract many different species of butterflies.
Asters combine well with many other wonderful fall blooming perennials such as Helianthus, Sedum, Solidago (Goldenrod), fall blooming "mums", and ornamental grasses.
Perovskia (Russian Sage) with its fragrant gray foliage and spiky blue flowers also makes a great neighbor for both the short or tall aster varieties.
Asters are very hardy and easy to grow. They prefer full sun and grow best in moist, well-drained soil. They are drought tolerant once established but do bloom better if the soil is kept fairly moist from August on through the fall.
The taller varieties may require staking especially if they are not growing in full sun. To avoid this, they can be cut back by half or a third of their height in June. This not only keeps them more compact and bushy in the garden, but also
improves flowering by allowing more flowering stems to be produced.
Powdery mildew and rust can be a problem with asters so it is important to give them plenty of space in the garden so the air can circulate around each plant. If mildew or rust has been a persistent problem, treat with Bonide Copper Fungicide according to the label directions.