Name: Aster oblongifolius (syn. Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) ‘Raydon’s Favorite’
Type of Plant: A late-fall flowering perennial that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and becomes covered with lavender-blue flowers in October. Hardy in zones 3 to 8. Grow this perennial in full to part sun.
Why I love this: As the growing season comes to an end it’s good to have flowers that only appear at this time of year. Asters provide a late color celebration that gives you branches of flowers for cutting. Asters (I just can’t get my tongue around the new name, Symphyotrichum) are drought tolerant, attract late season butterflies and the birds eat their seeds into the winter.
I have noticed that the deer and rabbits never touch this plant in my landscape, even as they munch on other plants on all sides of the asters.
A Word to the Wise: If you want to keep this aster shorter, shear it in late May. I use my battery-powered shearing tool and take off the top 6 to 8 inches before the beginning of June. I also have plants at the top of my driveway and I don’t shear those. Both methods are fine.