Symphyotrichum novae-angliae KICKIN LILAC BLUE
Common Name: New England aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Lilac blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers moist, rich soils. Good air circulation helps reduce incidence of foliar diseases. Pinching back stems several times before mid-July will help control plant height, promote bushiness and perhaps obviate the need for staking. Pinching back will also delay flowering.

No need to pinch back the compact KICKIN SERIES cultivars to control plant height unless an unusually low plant height is desired. KICKIN SERIES cultivars have U. S. patent applications pending. They cannot be grown from seed and will not come true from seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, commonly called New England aster, is a Missouri native perennial which occurs in moist prairies, meadows, thickets, low valleys and stream banks (Steyermark) throughout the State. It is a stout, leafy plant typically growing 3-6' tall with a robust, upright habit. Features a profuse bloom of daisy-like asters (to 1.5" diameter) with purple rays and yellow centers from late summer to early fall. Rough, hairy, lance-shaped leaves (to 4" long) clasp stiff, hairy stems. Flowers are attractive to butterflies.

Genus name comes from the Greek symph meaning coming together and trich meaning hair in possible reference to the flower anthers.

Specific epithet means of New England, USA.

KICKIN SERIES asters is a series of New England asters bred and introduced by Kientzier of the Netherlands. As of 2015, there are seven different KICKIN cultivars (PURPLE, PINK CHIFFON, CARMINE RED, LAVENDER, SILVER PINK, MAUVE AND LILAC BLUE) in this series which feature bushy, compact plants growing to only 18-24” tall and generating a profuse bloom of foliage-covering, semi-double flowers from late summer to fall.

KICKIN LILAC BLUE produces lilac blue flowers with a gold button eye on plants typically rising to 18-22” tall. U. S. Plant Patent Application (PPAF) is pending.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to powdery mildew. Aster wilt can also be an occasional problem, particularly if plants are grown in poorly-drained clay soils. Taller plants may require staking or other support.

Staking is not required for compact KICKIN SERIES CULTIVARS.

Garden Uses

Provides color and contrast to the fall perennial border front. Mass or plant in groups. Also effective naturalized in drifts in meadows or in native or wildflower gardens.

Low-growing habit makes KICKIN SERIES cultivars good plants for border fronts, large rock gardens or edging. Also effective in butterfly gardens. Excellent for containers.