Monday, September 28, 2015

Native Asters for Early Fall Color by Joyce D'Agostino

Now that fall is here, the flowers that can tolerate the cooler weather and shorter days may be few. But if you want to continue to enjoy flowers and color for a few more weeks asters make a great choice. 
Like chrysanthemums, asters bloom in late summer into early fall and have been a seasonal favorite for decades. They are a welcome addition of color when the annual flowers that need the warmth and more sun are winding down. Asters are great cut flowers for bouquets as well. 

Another important benefit for having these flowers in your garden is that they are a favorite of bees and butterflies. The flowers have nectar and pollen when other flowers are no longer are producing so this provides some late season energy for the bees. It is entertaining to watch the bees move quickly from flower to flower. The open design of the bloom makes it easy for bees and butterflies to access the pollen and nectar. 
Asters are often perennials, and are very easy care. Once established, you will have many years of wonderful fall flowers. 
Colorado has a native aster, the Colorado Tansy aster, Machaeranthera coloradoensis. The picture shown is one of these lovely native flowers in my garden. 
For more information on asters, see these bulletins: