Aster alpinus
Common Name: Alpine aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Europe, North America, Asia
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Blue-violet rays with yellow centers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Grow in moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Good air circulation helps reduce incidence of foliar diseases. This aster likes cool summer temperatures, and may struggle in the hot and humid St. Louis climate.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aster alpinus, commonly called alpine aster, is native to the mountains of Europe, including the Alps and Pyrenees. It typically grows in a slowly-spreading clump to 8-12" tall. Daisy-like asters (to 1" diameter) featuring blue-violet rays and yellow centers bloom in May-June. Flowers are usually solitary, appearing at the ends of slender stems. Untoothed, lanceolate-spatulate, dark green leaves (to 2” long) are mostly basal. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. Aster alpinus var. vierhapperi, commonly called Vierhapper's aster, is native to the Altai Mountains in central Asia (primary range) plus Alaska and northwestern Canada, with several small disjunct populations in Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming.

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

Specific epithet means alpine; from high mountains above the timber line.

Problems

No known serious insect or disease problems. Asters generally have some susceptibility to powdery mildew. Aster wilt can also be an occasional problem, particularly if plants are grown in poorly-drained clay soils. Watch for slugs and snails.

Garden Uses

This aster is native to rocky soils and will do well in similar soils in sunny areas of rock gardens or border fronts.