Aster amellus 'Veilchenkönigin' VIOLET QUEEN
Common Name: Italian aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to frost
Bloom Description: Deep violet-blue with a yellow center disk
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Good drainage is essential. Plants generally do not need staking due to compact size. Planting, transplanting and division (every 4-5 years) should be done in spring. Not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where it may be advisable to grow these plants in protected locations with spent flowering stems left in place over winter. A light winter mulch will also help protect crowns. Cut stems to the ground in early spring before new growth appears. Wet soils in winter can be fatal.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aster amellus, commonly known as Italian aster or Italian starwort, is a compact bushy aster that typically grows to 2-2.5’ tall and as wide. It is native to sunny limestone slopes in central France, northern Italy, the Czech Republic and the Caucasus. Species plants are now rare in the wild. Daisy-like flowers (each to 2.5” diameter) with purple rays (20-30 narrow petals) and yellow center disks bloom from late summer/early autumn to frost, singly or in flattened clusters (corymbs), atop erect pubescent stems rising to 2.5’ tall. Rough, hairy, lanceolate leaves (to 5” long) are medium to deep green. Petiolate basal leaves are oblanceolate to obovate and sessile stem leaves are oblong to lanceolate.

Genus name comes from the Latin word aster meaning star for the shape of the flowers.

Specific epithet comes from the River Mella in Italy which is a tributary of the Po.

‘Veilchenkonigin’, commonly sold under the trade name of VIOLET QUEEN, produces deep violet-purple flowers from late summer to early fall (sometimes to first frost). Flowers are borne in profusion on stems growing to 2’ tall. Plants have a loose, bushy, open habit.

Although once marketed under the cultivar name of ‘Violet Queen’, this plant is now called ‘Veilchenkonigin’ (original German name given by Karl Foerster in 1956) with VIOLET QUEEN as the trade name.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may occur in wet, poorly drained soils, particularly in winter. Verticillium wilt may attack plants grown in poor soils. Good resistance to powdery mildew, particularly if soils remain somewhat dry.

Garden Uses

Foundation plantings, borders, cottage gardens and butterfly gardens.