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Aster Flowers – All you need to know

Aster flowers were named after the Latin word for “star,” Asters Flowers will brighten up any garden. It attracts butterflies and comes in a variety of colors including blue, indigo, violet, white, red and pink. Unlike other colorful flowers, Asters will typically stay in bloom into cooler fall months.

Aster flowers (Aster spp.) add color to the autumn landscape while offering beauty with little work when caring for asters. Growing asters often bloom in late summer and fall, but the Alpine aster offers blooms in spring. Learning how to grow aster is easy and rewarding when the star shaped flowers bloom in the landscape.

Their sun requirement is a Full Sun / Partial Shade sun and requires a well-drained soil. Their Zones are around 4 – 8 with a Height of about 0.25 – 4 feet tall, they Blooms in Late Spring – Early Fall and are Good for cut flowers.

Types of Aster Flowers

Aster flowers may reach 3 to 4 feet or can be compact and mounding as with the Alpine type. Six-hundred or more varieties of aster exist. Pair asters in the natural garden with coneflowers and goldenrod for a striking display.
Caring for asters can include staking and/or pruning taller types for a bushier and more compact plant.

How to Grow Aster Flowers

Growing asters is a simple garden chore. They may be started from seed in spring, but are most often purchased as a potted plant. Plant into a full sun to part sun location in loamy, well-draining soil. Keep new plantings moist and continue watering until blooms cease.
Appropriate care of aster includes watering at the base and not splashing the foliage. Getting water or fertilizer on the leaves encourages powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.
Organic mulch can hold in moisture and supply nutrients as it breaks down. Apply within a few inches of aster stems, but not against them. Fertilize growing asters with a balanced plant food about once a month.

Asters need little in the way of maintenance. Care of asters may include deadheading for more blooms and occasionally includes controlling powdery mildew.
This disease is most easily prevented by autumn or spring division of aster flowers, with the middle clump removed and discarded. Powdery mildew can also be controlled with insecticidal sprays and soaps, if started early and regularly applied during the growing season.
Powdery mildew usually does no lasting damage to aster flowers, but should be controlled for aesthetic purposes. Spraying may also deter the small, gray lace bug, which sometimes feeds on the succulent growth of growing asters. Include a plot of aster flowers in the garden for fall color and beauty.
Plant shorter types to accompany fall blooming mums. This hardy perennial will return for years of autumn color.

Asters are daisy-like perennials with starry-shaped flower heads. They bring delightful color to the garden in late summer and autumn when many of your other summer blooms may be fading.

There are many species and varieties of asters, so the plant’s height can range from 8 inches to 8 feet, depending on the type. You can find an aster for almost any garden at garden centers in autumn!

The plant can be used in many places, such as in borders, rock gardens, or wildflower gardens. Asters also attract bees and butterflies, providing the pollinators with an important late-season supply of nectar.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Asters prefer climates with cool, moist summers especially cool night temperatures. In warmer climates, plant asters in areas that avoid the hot mid-day sun.
  • Select a site with full to partial sun.
  • Soil should be moist but well-drained, and loamy.
  • Mix compost into the soil prior to planting. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.)

Planting Aster Flowers

  • While asters can be grown from seed, germination can be uneven. You can start the seeds indoors during the winter by sowing seeds in pots or flats and keeping them in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks to simulate winter dormancy. Sow seeds one inch deep. After 4 to 6 weeks, put the seeds in a sunny spot in your home. Plant outside after the danger of frost has passed.
  • The best time to plant young asters is in mid- to late spring. Fully-grown, potted asters may be planted as soon as they become available in your area.
  • Space asters 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the type and how large it’s expected to get.
  • Give plants plenty of water at the time of planting.
  • Add mulch after planting to keep soil cool and prevent weeds.

Aster flowers
Asters are highly attractive to pollinators, especially bees and butterflies.

How to Grow Aster Flowers

  • Add a thin layer of compost (or a portion of balanced fertilizer) with a 2–inch layer of mulch around the plants every spring to encourage vigorous growth.
  • If you receive less than 1 inch of rain a week, remember to water your plants regularly during the summer. However, many asters are moisture-sensitive; if your plants have too much moisture or too little moisture, they will often lose their lower foliage or not flower well. Keep an eye out for any stressed plants and try a different watering method if your plants are losing flowers.
  • Stake the tall varieties in order to keep them from falling over.
  • Pinch back asters once or twice in the early summer to promote bushier growth and more blooms. Don’t worry, they can take it!
  • Cut asters back in winter after the foliage has died, or leave them through the winter to add some off-season interest to your garden.
    • Note: Aster flowers that are allowed to mature fully may reseed themselves, but resulting asters may not bloom true.
  • Divide every 2 to 3 years in the spring to maintain your plant’s vigor and flower quality.

Read Also: Angelica Flowers – All you need to know

Pests/Diseases of Aster Flowers

Susceptible to:

  • Powdery mildew
  • Rusts
  • White smut
  • Leaf spots
  • Stem cankers
  • Aphids
  • Tarsonemid mites
  • Slugs and snails
  • Nematodes

Harvest/Storage

  • Asters work well as cut flowers!

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Asters, one of September’s birth flowers, were once burned to ward off serpents.
  • The name “aster” comes from the Ancient Greek word for “star” a reference to the plant’s star-shaped flowers.
  • Thanks to the aster’s late bloom time, they are sometimes called “Michaelmas daisies.” Michaelmas is a holiday that occurs annually on September 29.

References

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