Common name/s ?

European Michaelmas daisy, Italian aster, fall aster and Michaelmas daisy.

Skill rating




Type of plant ?

Herbaceous, deciduous perennial.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

Up to 60cm height by 45cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach ultimate height in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Forms clumps of upright, leafy flowering stems.

Season/s of interest

Flowers from mid summer to late autumn.

Where to grow it

Happiest in full sun.
Prefers well drained soil.

Tolerates any soil type, but prefers it to be fertile and well cultivated.

Aster amellus 'Violet Queen'


Narrow, mid green foliage appears from spring, followed by richly violet coloured flowers.

What to use it for

Useful in containers, borders and as a cut flower.

Good for a wildlife garden as it attracts butterflies. It is also relatively ‘rabbit resistant’.

How to look after it

Support may be required to prevent the stems flopping over. Ring-style supports or wide netting stretched horizontally on canes would be ideal – place them as growth starts in the spring so the stems can grow up through them.

To keep the plant vigorous it should be divided, at least every 3 years.

How to prune it

Cut it down to ground level in late autumn after flowering.

How to propagate it

By division in spring (this is also healthy for the plant). Cuttings can be taken in spring – basal shoots work best, but other stem parts can also be used. Root the cuttings in a propagator to keep them warm before potting on and hardening off in a cold frame.

Common problems

Prone to powdery mildew.

Other useful information

The name ‘Aster’ derives from the Latin for ’star’.

One legend explaining why it received this name (other than because of the star like shape of the flowers) is that the plant arose when the Greek goddess of justice, innocence and purity, Astraea, looked at the earth and cried because she couldn’t see any stars. The aster flower then grew out of the soil where her tears fell.