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Aster amellus is a species of perennial plant that is native to Europe and parts of Asia. This species comes in many different varieties, including hybrid versions that can be planted in non-native climates. The aster amellus is perhaps best known for its large, brightly-colored flowers, which come in shades of purple and blue. The flowers of this plant resemble the traditional daisy, including the central yellow bud, but can be distinguished by their purple hue. Some common varieties of this plant include the Italian Aster and the King George aster.
Gardeners with a less-than green thumb may find growing and caring for aster easier than growing other flowering plants. The aster amellus is known for its hardy nature and low maintenance. It can thrive in both full sun and partially shady conditions, allowing gardeners to place it in many spots in the yard or around the home. The aster grows well in dry or well-drained soil, making it a good choice for relatively dry or arid climate zones. This tolerance for dry conditions also means that the plant is unlikely to die off if owners forget to water it regularly.
The aster amellus grows to an average height of 18 inches (45 cm) and generally spreads out this same distance underground. Many sources recommend that the aster plants are placed between and and three feet (30.5 and 91.5 cm) apart to allow for sufficient space. These flowers can be planted anytime from the fall to the spring, though gardeners should avoid extremely cold days when planting. Outside of Europe, gardeners should look for hybrid varieties of the aster amellus that are more likely to grow in less than optimal conditions.
Aster amellus features a richly colored, dark green stem and leaves. Many growers will be surprised to find that the plant does not produce leaves during the warm summer months. This means that the aster amellus should be mixed in with other types of plant species that tend to be more full during the summer to avoid bare or sparse patches in the garden.
The purple flowers of the aster amellus serve as its trademark. They come in shades of blueish purple, lavender, and even bright pink, and have a central round bud that is yellow or orange in color. This species blooms from the summer through the late autumn, and may flower for several months at a time. Cuttings from the aster amellus tend to whither quickly, and should not be taken until the day they will be used.