New False Aster

By Charlie Nardozzi

Boltonia is a flower in the aster family that blooms in late summer. A North American native, boltonia produces masses of white, pink, or violet flowers, depending on the variety. This perennial is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, and grows best in full sun to light shade. The plant grows 4 to 7 feet tall, and is widely adapted to many soil types. It also provides great cut flowers.

Now, from the University of Massachusetts comes a new variety to honor Jim Crockett, the past host of the Victory Garden television show. Horticulture professor Thomas Boyle, who introduced the plant Alternanthera 'Purple Knight', has bred this new boltonia to have 1- to 3-inch-diameter, mauve-violet flowers with yellow centers, and blue-green foliage on 20-inch-tall plants. 'Jim Crockett' boltonia also withstands powdery mildew disease. Boltonia asteriodes 'Jim Crockett' blooms in late summer, making it an excellent companion to other late-season bloomers, such as asters, sedums, and goldenrod.

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