The vivid, clear pink flowers of Aster ‘Wood’s Pink’ offer a rich complement to the warm, golden hues of autumn. Developed by Ed Wood of Portland, Oregon, this floriferous hybrid was bred for its compact size and great mildew and rust resistance. Its rosy, yellow-centered daisies smother low-growing mounds of fine, dark-green foliage in late summer to early fall, and are highly attractive to bees and butterflies.
Blooming best in full to part sun and moist, well-drained soils, ‘Wood’s Pink’ will also perform well in clay soils. Use this fine aster as a reliable companion or alternative to fall mums. ‘Wood’s Pink’ looks terrific when planted in combination with ornamental goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata) ‘Golden Fleece’, and tall Sedum varieties such as ‘Matrona’.
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Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Pinch young shoots back to encourage bushiness. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Stake tall varieties to keep them upright. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line. Divide plants every three to four years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps containing three to five shoots.
Boltonia – Snowbank boltonia looks like a larger version of aster. It is a closely related cousin. Its pure-white daisy blooms team beautifully with pink or purple fall-blooming asters.
Russian sage – The lavender spires of Russian sage blooms create a nice contrast to the mounded plant form of asters. Color coordinate with either purple or pink asters for a showstopping sunny late-summer border.
Sedum – Tall sedums such as ‘Autumn Joy’ come into their glory at the same time as fall-blooming asters. Their mounds of rosy blooms on succulent blue-green foliage are perfect partners for mounds of asters.