Michaelmas Daisy (Aster)

This late flowering perennial is of great benefit to butterflies, bees and hoverflies in the late autumn – flowering at a time of year when many other sources of  nectar have come to an end. In addition to being a good source of nectar  for pollinating insects, the seeds offer winter food for birds, too. This means I’ll be leaving their seed-heads in situ over the winter and wont be “tidying them up” until  late spring when the birds should have had a chance to eat most of them.

My autumn flowering Asters attracted a steady stream of hoverlies to my balcony.

Whilst there are many garden varieties of Michaelmas Daisy which can  benefit wildlife there are also some  varieties which are less attractive to wildlife –  mainly due to the lack of nectar in some of  the overbred hybrids. With this is mind, I was careful to visit my local garden nursery  on a sunny day  and  study the amount of “insect activity” on the various Michaelmas Daisy’s for sale. Needless to say, I chose the one which had a steady flow of visiting bees and hoverflies and which now has pride of place on my balcony!