‘Billowing Pink’ takes on a compact, dense mound habit as it develops. Two-year-old in-ground plants were 11 inches tall and 18 inches wide, while four-year-old in-ground plants reach 26 inches tall and 48 inches wide, giving this cultivar a moderate size suitable for the middle of perennial beds. It can completely cover large areas when several plants are massed together. Inflorescences are pink in color, 1½ inches in diameter, and cover the entire plant in peak bloom. Ray florets along the edge of the flower heads begin strongly upturned and remain some what upturned during flowering. ‘Billowing Pink’ has a six-week bloom period from late September to mid-November in USDA Zone 5.
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In 2008, a more formal aster improvement program was initiated at the Chicago Botanic Garden using cultivars of aromatic aster (S. oblongifolium) and New England aster (S. novae-angliae) that performed well in the plant evaluation program’s trials along with other promising selections. Breeding of aromatic aster (S. oblongifolium) resulted in the cultivar ‘Cotton Candy’, which was subsequently used as the seed parent in crosses made in September 2012 with pooled pollen of hybrid origin. This cross led to the development of the cultivars ‘Billowing Pink’ and ‘Billowing Violet’.
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Mobile, Alabama 36640