A robust bushy species that looks amazing when massed. S. oblongifolium is a good alternative to New England aster because it is more resistant to powdery mildew. And, like S. leave, it does not get “naked legs” like many other asters, but maintains lovely green foliage down to the ground, looking almost shrubby at times. ( A common problem of many other asters is that their lower leaves brown and fall off during the summer, becoming unsightly and resulting in bare lower stems. This problem is solved by careful placement of lower-growing plants in front of your asters.) S. oblongifolium is the straight species from which the well-know cultivars “October Skies” and “Raydon’s Favorite” were derived. Special value to native bees and supports beneficial insects. Height: 1-3 ft. Spread: 1-3 ft. Family: Asteraceae Bloom time: August to September Sun: full sun Water: dry to medium Groundcover According to Rutgers University, asters are “seldom severely damaged” by deer.