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Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’ AGM

Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’

You will find Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’ AGM on the new island beds at the top of the Main Borders, and there are plans to put it on the main borders next year too!

With masses of long lasting, lavender-blue, daisy-like flowers with orange centres in late summer and autumn, and dark green leaves, these charming daisies are ideal for a mixed or herbaceous border, where they associate especially well with late summer-flowering perennials such as Rudbeckia and Echinacea.

Vital statistics

Common name
Aster 'Mönch'
Family
Asteraceae
Height & spread
Up to 90cm tall x 40cm wide
Form
Herbaceous perennial
Soil
Well-drained, moderately fertile soil
Aspect
Full sun
Hardiness
Fully hardy

Aster

The genus Aster contains approximately 250 species of annuals, biennials, perennials and sub-shrubs from a variety of habitats including well-drained mountainous sites to moist woodland, in the northern hemisphere, particularly in North America. The few shrubby species are mainly from South Africa.

They grow as clump-forming, hairy perennials with short rhizomes and stout stems. The stems are usually covered with simple, lance-shaped leaves up to about 12cm (5in) long.

Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’ AGM

A cross between Aster amellus (Italian aster or starwort) and A. thomsonii, this is an upright perennial with an ability to thrive in dry areas. A. thomsonii is a Himalayan species found on dry woodland edges. ‘Mönch’ was one of several deliberate crosses made by a Swiss nurseryman called Frikart around 1918. He named all his crosses after Swiss mountain peaks. ‘Mönch’ is one of the best, and ‘Wunder von Stafa’ bred in 1924, is similar but with bluer flowers.

Cultivation

  • Stake with bamboo canes or brushwood in early spring.
  • Water regularly during dry spells and deadhead regularly to prolong flowering.
  • After flowering cut the flowered stems to the ground and apply a generous mulch of well-rotted garden compost or horse manure around the base of the plant.
  • Divide every third year to maintain flower quality.
  • These asters are vulnerable to eel-worms, aphids, slugs, snails, Fusarium wilt, leaf-spot and grey mould (Botrytis).

Propagation

  • Sow seed in a cold frame in spring or autumn, though cultivars will not come true.
  • Divide or separate runners, preferably in spring, otherwise in autumn, replanting only vigorous young shoots.

AGM

The RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee awarded Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’ an Award of Garden Merit and described it as a:

"Bushy herbaceous perennial to 90cm, with dark foliage and yellow-centred, lavender-blue daisies 5cm across."

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