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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Aster novi-belgii 'Tonga'
MICHAELMAS DAISY, NEW YORK ASTER
Pronounced: As-ter NO-vee-BEL-gee-ee
Sunset zones: All (Western). USDA zones: 4-8.
Height: 24 inches (60 cm). Width: 24 inches (60 cm).
Early September until first frost.
Purple flowers with orange centers.
Dark green lanceolate leaves.
Moist, moderately fertile, well drained soil.
A mulch of compost or manures applied in fall. Apply a complete organic fertilizer in spring. After cutting back growth in early summer, a light fertilizing with fish fertilizer will help with new leaf growth.
Division in early spring or late fall. | Root basal cuttings in spring.
You can prune back in early summer for bushier growth, but A. 'Tonga' has a compact and bushy growth so there is no need for pruning as with some of the other asters.
Rainy Side Notes
For autumn, asters cannot be beat for wonderful fall colors. Just when you think summer is over and your garden is going to fade, out pops the beautiful asters asking, no, insisting you pay attention. The purple of this Aster 'Tonga' blends and compliments the many jewel tone colors of autumn. I planted three plants but believe five or seven planted in a drift would be better. Planted at the base of tall Solidago canandensis would be an eye-popping, brilliant pairing as they both are in full bloom at the same time.
New York asters last as a cut flower for 8-12 days when properly harvested. Cut the stems when 1/4 of the flower has opened and place it immediately into water.
These asters last as a cut flower for 8-12 days when properly harvested. Cut the stems when ¼ of the flower has opened and place it immediately into water.
Article: Planning a Colorful Autumn Garden.
Photographed in author's garden.
Perennials indexed by botanical names. Click on corresponding letter below.