Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’
(Syn. Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)
Clouds of very fine misty flowers are a treat in autumn.
Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’ covers itself with a profusion of the finest rayed, tiniest white daisies, each with a deep crimson centre.
So you can’t fit a pin between the flowers.
But it turns itself into an autumn haze, because ‘Lady in Black’ is the tall, elegant, super-model of the Aster family.
(Scroll below to “Growing” section for plant details & cultivation advice).
Black foliage for contrast
Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’ is stunning, both in and out of the flower.
As it has dark, almost black-plum, leaves and stems.
And this gorgeous foliage towers up between or behind other plants to make great colour contrast.
Of course the dark foliage looks wonderful amongst the it’s own white and crimson Aster flowers.
Plant between roses
But the black foliage also looks sensational amongst dark red or white roses, even when the Aster is not in flower.
Cut branches of flowers
Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’ provides great swags of commercial florist quality, cut flowers on long branching stems. And they are exceptionally long lasting in the vase.
Growing: Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’
– Height with flowers: Billowing 80-100cm. approx. when in flower. But shorter foliage before and after flowering.
– Width: Forms a dense clump of black foliage to a diameter of 60cm. approx.
– Position: Full Sun is usual, although ‘Lady in Black’ can tolerate a little shade, or some dappled shade, as long as it is dry and airy. But she does not appreciate dank humidity. However she will also tolerate shade for part of the day in hotter districts. As long as she is getting plenty of light and air.
Gorgeous but tough
– Water-wise: Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’ is a water-wise plant, ideal for water conserving gardeners. Because it can withstand periods of dry between drinks, and is heat tolerant.
So it is not a thirsty plant. And normal, average garden watering is ample.
– Soil: ‘Lady in Black’ is very unfussy about soil type. She happily thrives in just about any soil, from sandy, through gravel and rocky, to heavier loams. And from acid to alkaline lime pH.
The only thing she resents is poor drainage and being waterlogged.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy, as it can survive even severe frosts down to below -20C.
Easy low care
– Care: ‘Lady in Black’ is a very low maintenance, hardy and easy care plant. The only work required is to shear the cloud of flower stems back to the ground after flowering. Your plant then clumps up with foliage again, ready to do an even more impressive billow of flowers again.
‘Lady in Black’ is virtually pest and disease free if her simple requirements are met.
– Growth: Perennial clump, which is very tall from mid-spring to after summer and autumn flowering. It is a low clump of foliage during winter, but does not completely disappear.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees become intoxicated in ‘Lady in Black’, because the flowers are so rich in nectar and pollen. The fact that a huge mass of flowers comes just when many other flowers are flagging after the summer heat, is also a great bonus for our bees.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Yes. Fortunately the leaves are unpalatable to the nibbling pests. Although of course they will eat anything if they are starving. But generally speaking, they leave it alone.
– Fragrance: None, but the wonderful cut flowers mean you can forgive.
– Origin: ‘Lady in Black’ was bred and developed by that outstanding Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. And it remains one of his favourites for his hardy, low maintenance, prairie style garden designs. Because Piet chooses only the best, hardiest and most useful plants.