‘Cotton Candy’ has a larger, broader mounding habit than its progeny cultivars ‘Billowing Pink’ and ‘Billowing Violet’, with three-year-old in-ground plants growing to 28 inches tall and 48 inches wide and four-year-old in-ground plants growing to 33 inches tall and 63 inches wide. It will therefore require slightly greater spacing and may be more suitable toward the back of perennial beds. The inflorescences are a light pink-violet color, 1½ inches in diameter, and cover plants completely during peak bloom. The six-week bloom period of ‘Cotton Candy’ is intermediate between its progeny cultivars, lasting from mid-September to late October 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