Asters are very popular species that are often grown for their beautiful prolonged blooms, lasting from late August to November, and during which they produce magnificent and colourful star-shaped flowers. These flowers are very easy to cultivate, have a relatively rapid growth, and need light and well-drained soil. They are often used to decorate decks, flower clumps, borders, rock gardens or balconies.

Asters are perennials that belong to the Asteraceae family and of which the origins date back to over 4000 years. Then, there are over 600 species divided among the countries of Europe, Asia, America or South Africa. Asters take their name from Greek or Latin, meaning star or planet, in relation to their star-shaped flowers. In some areas, some species flower at the same time as the grapes, in September and October. Asters often have a stiff and dense bearing and, depending on species, they can easily reach a height between 4 inches and 5 feet (10 cm and 1.5 m). The leaves are often deciduous or evergreen and can be of varying shapes. Some species can be either heart-shaped or lanceolate, narrow or broad, hairy or shiny, toothed or not, opposite or alternate, and of dark or bright colours. Asters have a long bloom that generally extends from August to November, which is the reason why they are often called the “autumn sun.” The flowers also vary depending on species and can be either single, double or in some cases semi-double on top of which they are generally grouped in clusters or panniculus. Asters are among the few plants that provide such a diverse colour palette, they are often white, different kinds of blue, mauve, purple, red or purple. The plants are hardy, easy to grow, and bring harmony to your garden.

Growing conditions for asters

If you want to grow asters, know that there is nothing easier to achieve. You can buy them in stores or nursery where you will surely have a very wide choice. Typically, asters grow very fast and require a good rooting. It is very important to choose asters in containers so they can support their straight and tall stems. You can either plant them in spring or from August to September. Given that they are undemanding plants, all types of soil may be suitable for them. To ensure a good crop, it is recommended to plant them in ordinary soil of neutral pH. It is important to know that asters are particularly fearful of overly stagnant humidity, especially in winter. In summer, when you water, it is advisable to give them just enough for them to be slightly moist. You can also bring them a little fertilizer in the spring to promote their growth. Asters particularly appreciate the light, you can place them in a sunny place or in partial shade.

Planting and propagating asters

To plant asters bought in containers, it is important to first soak the clod of earth in order for the soil to remain fresh. If the roots are pressed too tightly against each other, you can untangle them to give them more room to breathe.  Then, dig down about 2 inches (5 cm) deep with a small scoop and add some decomposed compost to the planting hole. If you plant several seedlings, it is important to keep at least 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of distance between each plant. After planting, thoroughly pack the ground around the seedling’s base. Asters are also plants that can be propagated very easily. You can sow them on open ground, in a half-shade, from April to June. If you have relatively heavy soil, you can lighten it with a little sand. You can transplant in fall or spring of the following year and flowering usually takes place one year after planting. Dividing your plants is very important because it helps to make them more vigorous and resistant to disease. You should divide the clumps in spring and, if you wish to do so, perform the taking of cuttings afterwards. The division of plants is normally done every 2 to 3 years.

No related posts.

Published in Autumn flowers by Alexander on 30 Aug 2011