New Front Yard: Monch aster is a water-wise knockout

06/21/2014 12:00 AM

10/04/2014 12:45 AM

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.

Monch aster

Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’

Size: Under 2 feet tall

Bloom season: Summer, early fall

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

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

Snapshot: OK, this isn’t a California native, but this popular aster has made itself right at home in the Central Valley. This easy-care hybrid aster, 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. 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.

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