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Featured Conservation Plants: January 2015

January 2015:
Aster novi-belgii ‘Plenty’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Plenty’ was introduced to the Conservation Scheme in 2010 after an article by Paul Picton appeared in ‘The Hardy Plant’ (HPS Journal) in spring that year about the breeding of improved Michaelmas daisies, started in the 1920’s by Ernest Ballard. Ernest Ballard made a significant contribution to improving the floral qualities of the existing hybrids over several decades.

“In the 1940’s ‘Plenty’ showed a great improvement in both the colour and size of the flowers, in addition to having very substantial weatherproof rays.” (Quoted from Paul Picton’s article.)

The flowers, up to 4cm across, are a light lavender-blue with a yellow centre carried on stalks up to 45cm. and the dark foliage provides a good background which sets off the flowers to good effect. The flower stalk can flop but as the stalks are sturdy, they are easily staked if necessary. It is a very floriferous plant, starting in August and carrying on to late autumn. Like other Asters of its type ‘Plenty’ requires a sunny spot and adequate moisture to perform well.

Some Aster hybrids can suffer from mildew and ‘Plenty’ is no exception if it gets too dry in the summer but it does appear to be more resistant than many and does remain mildew-free when given the right conditions.

Its growth rate is moderate and propagation is easiest by splitting the clump as new growth comes through in spring.

There was only one supplier of this plant in the RHS Plant Finder 2014.

The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.

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