Kiss My Aster

Asterzilla vs. Mumthra

Elegant Asters
Globby mashed potatoes and gravy mums…
Elegant Asters
Globby mashed potatoes and gravy mums…

Clearly, I’m an aster person. I wouldn’t have named my blog (and most of my life) Kiss My Aster if I didn’t love them. But didn’t always love them, I didn’t even know their name when I first met them. I came up with “Kiss My Aster” as a mnemonic device (I slip and say “pneumatic” sometimes) to remember them when I worked in the perennials department of a garden center a long time ago, in a galaxy far away. Since it was summer and I hadn’t seen them bloom yet and they didn’t look like much sitting there on the bench, I needed something to help me remember them. I came up with Kiss My Aster and never forgot them again. I’ve grown to really love them, something about the depth of color and fuzzy habit/bloom make them seem rich, elegantly weedy and romantic to me. Even if they’re blooming in a roadside ditch.

For me, they are CLEARLY the choice for fall blooms.

But so many people are stuck on mums. Ew. I think they are tacky, break easily, look awful once the blooms start to fade a little. They can become a hard-to-get-rid-of nasty weed, in a worst case scenario.  I hate their lumpy, cold gravy shape. I’m not into mum colors either. I don’t need flowers the same exact color as the leaves in the trees. That’s just goofy. Gimme contrast, bud!

I sorta like the smell though…


Are you and Aster or a Mum?

View Comments


  1. MichelleGervais 11/02/2012

    Mums=yuck. Every single time I've bought them they look good for a total of 3 days. Asters are just OK. I vote ornamental cabbages and kales! Crazy interesting, easy to mix with other plants, and they look good forever!

  2. Josefly 11/02/2012

    I have both in my suburban Atlanta yard. I must say you picked a particularly unappealing photo of mums for comparison - no bias there I suppose? I have some mums with small pink blooms, which came from my grandmother's garden over 40 years ago, and I've grown to love them. In my large raised planter they don't grow in the mounded clumps your photo shows. I must shear them off once in late May, pinch back the buds from late June through mid-August, but that's about all the care they need. They look almost serene alongside the sweet potato "Blackie" vine, Purple Heart, and lavender. My pink Confederate Rose blooms nearby at the same time, so it's all a nice foil for the bright yellows and oranges otherwise showing in fall.

    I love the blue asters, too, planted near my mailbox, again with Purple Heart, red and purple verbena, and Dusty Miller. The asters have a wonderful deep color, but they require a lot of control - I pull out about half of the emerging growth in the spring, and then I have to shear off 1/3 of the growth 3 times during the growing season. Aphids make them look rather embarrassing for a while in July. And I have to stake them to prevent falling over all the other surrounding plants. That 3 week-long show makes it all worthwhile, though I'm required to immediately remove the seed heads after blooming. This wonderful plant wants to take over! I also have a fuschia-colored aster which blooms earlier and doesn't last as long.

    I vote for both!

  3. JuleMG 11/04/2012

    The best mums I have don't need to be pinched back, ha e nicely mounded dark foliage with nicely contrasting flowers, sort of lavender. I got it from a friend so I don't know the variety name. The mums sold in garden centers aren't that nice, but I have other loveliest that I have purchased online. I keep hearing nice things about an aster called Raydon, I'd like to get some of that.

  4. GailE 11/17/2012

    I love asters~They are the backbone of my fall garden, look wonderful massed and are the perfect food stop for visiting pollinators. I do appreciate the late blooming Korean mums, but they are not at all mounding messes.

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