Growing Aster flowers is fun and easy. The plants put on a display of bright, profuse, and long-lasting blooms. Consequently, they are popular in home gardens. With over 180 varieties, perennial asters are sometimes grown as annuals in colder climates. Aster flowers are a symbol of elegance and patience. Certainly, you will agree that the flowers are indeed elegant.
Perennial Aster flowers grow well in average soils but need full sun. Blooms grow on erect, woody stems. The flowers are 2 inches in diameter and are wilt-resistant. Aster flowers come in blues, pinks, purples, and white. All Asters are yellow in the center of the flower. They are daisy-like in appearance, even though they are a member of the sunflower family.
Did you know? The yellow center of Asters is actually comprised of many tiny flowerets.
Asters come in a wide variety, with some less than a foot tall, while others are several feet tall. Both large and smaller varieties make good-cut flowers for vases and arrangements.
Plant height: 8 inches to 8 feet, depending upon variety. Most aster plants grow up to 24 inches tall.
Flowers Bloom: Summer to Fall
Asters are easily grown from division. Aster plants do best if divided every two to three years. Simply dig out half to two-thirds of the plants, leaving the remainder in place. Then separate the portion you dug out into two sections and plant in another location or give them to a friend.
Aster seeds can also be directly seeded into your flower garden or seeded indoors for transplanting later. We recommend planting Asters in pots and containers indoors, then transplanting the seedlings outdoors in early spring. This allows you to make the proper spacing.
Sow Aster seeds early in the season, and cover lightly with soil. Water thoroughly once. The seeds germinate easily and plants grow quickly, producing their first of a continual display of blooms by mid-summer.
Transplant Asters into your garden into an area where they can be grown for years. Spacing depends upon size with miniature varieties spaced four to six inches apart, and Giant varieties one to two feet apart. Place smaller varieties around the front of your flower garden as a border. Put larger varieties towards the back of the flowerbed.
Aster Seed Germination: 8 – 10 days
Grow Aster plants in full sun. They tolerate partial shade. However, too much shade reduces the number of blooms. Aster plants will grow well in average soils. But, like all plants, they will reward you with bigger blooms and a healthier plant if you add plenty of compost. Also, add a general-purpose fertilizer once a month.
Once your Aster plants are established, they should grow well for years. Soil should be moist, but not wet. They will withstand dry periods. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week to keep growth vibrant.
Add mulch around the plants for appearance and to keep weeds down.
Around mid to late summer, your plants will begin to produce flowers and will continue to do so until frost. You do not need to remove dead flower blooms, except to improve plant appearance. For giant varieties, trim back any stalks that have become gangly or unsightly.
Ideal Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.5.
Plant Problems – causes and cures
Asters have sturdy stalks that make them good candidates for flower vases and other indoor arrangements. Cut the stem low, check for insects hiding in the flower, on the stem, and under the leaves. Bring them indoors and place them in water immediately.
For smaller varieties, simply use a small container or vase. Cut the stem a couple of inches long. Bunch up a variety of colors for an eye-appealing arrangement. Add a small sprig or two of Baby’s Breath.
Remember Asters, when creating container gardens for your deck or porch. They are excellent candidates. Use varieties with a shorter growth habit.
Asters are somewhat resistant to insects and disease. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.