Ellen M. Zagory / Special to The Bee

Community Favorites: Monch aster offers lots of flowers all summer and is a butterfly's delight. That's why it's a UC Davis Arboretum Community Favorite.

Community favorite: Monch aster

Published: Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 8CALIFORNIA LIFE
Last Modified: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 - 8:52 pm

This is one in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.

Monch aster

Aster x frikartii 'Monch'

Size: Under 2 feet tall

Bloom season: Summer, early fall

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Pruning needs: Little or none; cut stems back to ground in winter

Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

Snapshot: This easy-care hybrid aster, originally developed in the early 1920s by Karl Frikart in Switzerland, is a dependable garden star in Sacramento. Throughout the summer, this compact perennial is covered with 2-inch, lavender-blue daisylike flowers. As a cut flower, it makes beautiful bouquets. Butterflies love it, too. It grows in almost any kind of soil – as long as it has good drainage. You can see specimens near the gazebo in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

Why it's a favorite: "I love the big, showy flowers on this aster," said Emily Griswold, the arboretum's assistant director of horticulture. "Unlike the fall-blooming asters, this one pumps out flowers all summer long – much to the delight of garden butterflies."

• Read more about the Arboretum's 75th anniversary at http://arboretum75th.ucdavis.edu. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at www.sacbee.com/home_garden.

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