Who doesn’t know the little perdurable Alpine aster? It has many names such as blue alpine daisy, mountain aster or boreal aster and is certainly traded under these names in other regions. In principle, the Alpine aster belongs to the genus of asters, even if they are smaller in appearance than the known aster species. This small plant rightly bears the name Alpine aster, however, because its traditional home is the Alps, the Tatra Mountains or the Pyrenees. You can even find this little beauty in the Balkans and Asia. It grows even at a height of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft), where it prefers dry and warm soils. You can often find them in the community with the edelweiss.
It is important to know that in some countries these small plants are protected and are therefore under the protection of species.
Profile of Alpine aster:
Scientific name: Aster alpinus
Plant family: daisy family (Asteraceae)
Other names: blue alpine daisy, mountain aster, boreal aster
Sowing time: seeds need frost to germinate
Planting time: all year round as long as it is frost-free
Flowering period: May to June
Location: sunny to off-sun
Soil quality: gritty to loamy, moderately dry to fresh, calcipholous, moderately nutritious
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flower beds, planters, dry stone walls, rock garden, potted garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-40 °C / -35 °F)
Plant characteristics and classification of Alpine aster
Origin and occurrence
The spring flowering species originally grows in the European mountains, western and Central Asia, Iran, Siberia and western North America. It prefers to thrive on sunny grasslands.
The Alpine aster (Aster alpinus) belongs to the large daisy family (Asteraceae).
The flower is usually between 20 and 30 cm (8 and 12 in) high. With its low, single-flowered stems, the perennial deviates a little from the usual growth pattern of the asters.
The rough, hairy leaves appear tongue-like to spatulate and are arranged in a basic rosette.
The basket flowers of Alpine aster open from May to June. The outer ligulate flower usually shine violet-blue, in rare cases they also appear pink or white. The inner tube flowers are yellow in color. The flowers are often visited by bees and other insects.
After flowering, the Alpine aster forms so-called achenes. A pappus sits on the seed – a kind of bushy feather crown.
Alpine aster – cultivation and care
The Alpine aster thrives best in a sunny, warm place in the garden.
The spring aster loves a moderately dry to fresh, moderately nutrient-rich soil. Above all, the soil should be well drained. It is also crucial that the flower is not planted on too nutritious soils.
Aster alpinus can be propagated by seeds. In particular, double-flowering varieties are usually propagated by division. The seeds need a cold stimulus in order to germinate.
The Alpine aster can be planted in spring or autumn. Choose a planting distance of 15 to 25 centimeters (6 to 10 in).
To keep it happy to flower, divide the rosette polster regularly, ideally after flowering in June.
Like all asters, Alpine asters should also be watered in the event of drought, even if they are far more robust and heat-tolerant than most autumn asters.
Fertilization should be carried out sparingly, if at all.
In spring or late autumn the Aster alpinus should be cut back vigorously. This is the only way to maintain its bushy and compact shape. The Alpine aster must be divided every two to four years, otherwise it will age. This means that only old shoots are left and the plant makes a dry impression from the center. The division helps it to stay young.
Diseases and pests
Leaf and stem nematodes and foam froghoppers can occur as pests. Possible diseases are powdery mildew and the Verticillium wilt.
Alpine aster is hardy, so no specials measures for wintering must be taken.
Use in the garden
Alpine aster is very suitable for crevices in the rock garden, for dry stone walls or terrace beds on well-drained soils. Other polster perennials such as soapwort, cheddar pink or yellow flax are nice companions.