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Connecticut Garden Journal: Boltonia

False Aster_Dan Mullen_Flickr.jpg
Dan Mullen
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Boltonia

I have a great fall perennial for you. It produces an abundance of white or pink, daisy-like flowers in later summer and autumn, it's deer resistant, spreads by seed or rhizomes so fills in an area quickly, tolerates wet soils and is a fantastic pollinator plant. Interested? It's Boltonia.

To most gardeners, Boltonia looks like an aster. In fact, its common name is false aster. Boltonia grows 3- to 5-feet tall and wide, and flowers more profusely than asters. White varieties, such as 'Snowbank', literally look like snow has fallen on the plant because of the hundreds of flowers when in bloom. Pink flowering varieties, such as ' Pink Beauty', offer the same flower show, but in a different color.

Like aster, Boltonia is tough, hardy and versatile. It grows well in part to full sun, is drought tolerant, but also thrives in wet areas in your yard. It grows in most types of soils including clay, spreads well as a wildflower, is a great pollinator plant and is deer resistant.

Because Boltonia can spread, plant it where it will have room to roam. Mix Boltonia with asters, Helenium, Joe Pye weed, turtlehead, and other late summer bloomers in your garden or wildflower area. If planted in the shade, it may get leggy. Support the plants with stakes or top the young plant when it's 1-foot tall to promote bushier growth.

Divide Boltonia every few years to keep it in bounds in the garden and make new plants to give away. Other than that, it's a carefree, colorful addition to your fall flower bouquet.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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