The Aster genus that includes over 250 species of deciduous and evergreenthat are all suitable for growing in containers on balconies and terraces. The Aster novi-belgii is native to the east coast of North America where they grow in the wild from Newfoundland clown to Georgia. The flowers are borne in loose sprays from late summer to mid-autumn and have violet ray florets with yellow disc florets in the centre. The leaves are narrow and smooth. It is from this wild form that the various cultivars flowering a wide range of colours have been developed. The colours range from bright pink to violet and blue. They grow best in moist, fertile in a sunny position. The soil should never be allowed to dry out. Tall varieties also look very good on balconies and terraces and they are an excellent source of cut flowers. However, it is important that they should be staked together so that they do not fall apart. Mulching is recommended after cutting back in the autumn.