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The two main kinds of aster, New England and New York, are probably the hardest to tell apart. New England aster tends to be 3 to 4 feet tall, though shorter and taller cultivars are available. Its stems are thick with hairy leaves. New England aster usually has full, dense flowers, blooming in late summer or early fall and lasting for several weeks.Tall, fall-blooming asters are an excellent choice for autumn perennial borders in full sun. These plants produce blooms in various colors that make excellent cut flowers and are exceptionally attractive to bees -- a sign of a healthy garden. Fall-blooming asters are known for a susceptibility to powdery mildew, but some varieties are resistant. Planting asters in moist, fertile soil can avert this issue. For best results, divide asters every two-to-four years.
Tartarian aster (Aster tataricus) and the Michaelmas daisy “Hella Lacy” (Aster novae-angliae “Hella Lacy”) are among the tallest members of the aster family. Tartarian aster grows from 36-to-72 inches tall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9 and bears violet-blue flowers in September that attract butterflies. This tall aster seldom requires staking and maintains its lush appearance until the first frost. “Hella Lacy” puts out lavender-blue daisies from late summer into mid-fall and is more likely to require staking. It grows from 47-to-59 inches tall in USDA zones 3 through 9.Some Michaelmas daisies (Aster spp.) grow up to 47 inches tall and bloom from late summer to early fall. “Lovely” (Aster ericoides “Lovely”) displays an abundance of small, violet-purple daisies and tolerates drought. “Monte Cassino” (Aster pringlei “Monte Cassino”) blooms in loads of small white daisies that attract butterflies and tolerates dry soil. “Lovely” grows 35-to-47 inches tall in USDA zones 3 through 9, and “Monte Cassino” grows 29-to-47 inches tall in USDA zones 4 through 9. Both asters exhibit good resistance to powdery mildew.
Certain fall asters grow 35-to-39 inches tall and blossom from late summer to mid-fall. The Michaelmas daisy “Lady in Black” (Aster lateriflorus “Lady in Black”) bears masses of small, white daisies among smoky-black leaves and makes a beautiful addition to cut flower arrangements. Michaelmas daisy “Alma Potschke” (Aster novae-angliae “Alma Potschke”) puts out an abundance of bright, salmon-pink blossoms. To reduce the need for staking, pinch back the plants before July. “Lady in Black” grows in USDA zones 4 through 9, and “Alma Potschke” grows in USDA zones 2 through 9.Two examples of short asters are Snow Flurry (Symphyotrichum ericoides "Snow Flurry") and Lady in Blue (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii "Lady in Blue"). Snow Flurry, which is also called heath aster, is a ground cover with tiny, white flowers. It grows 3 to 6 inches tall in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Snow Flurry does well in soils ranging from rocky to clay, likes full sun but can handle light shade and tolerates drought. Lady in Blue is a border plant that has semi-double lavender blue flowers. It grows 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide, needs full sun and prefers moist soil. (Source: homeguides.sfgate.com)