Growing Asters: How To Grow Aster Flowers In Your Garden
The first thing to understand is that there are two kinds of flowers in your garden: perennials and annuals. Annuals include herbs, vegetables, fruits and even trees. They have no season and grow year round. You will not see them blooming until they die back from winter cold or other causes. These plants need little attention because they don’t require much water or fertilizer.
However, perennials like flowers and need careful maintenance to keep them healthy.
Perennial flowers such as daisies, dahlias, violets and others require constant care to ensure their health. If you want to grow these beautiful flowers in your garden then you must learn how to grow them properly.
Aster Flowers: What Are They?
Aster flowers are small white flowers with pink centers. They are one of the most popular houseplants in the world. There are many varieties of asters available today, but all share some common characteristics. Most asters have four petals, which resemble tiny sunflowers. Some varieties have five petals while others may only have three petals. The petals may grow in a wheel shape, like the purple New England asters. Many even have a combination of both four and five petal flowers. The leaves are usually green, though some varieties have purple or light green leaves.
A Word About Scent
Most people think of asters as having little or no scent at all. However, several varieties actually do have a strong, pleasant fragrance. The flowers are small and many of them grow close together, so you cannot appreciate the scent as you would a large rose flower. Instead, you must bring the flowers up to your nose to breathe in their fragrance. The leaves are usually intensely scented, however.
A Word About Color
Most asters have white or off-white petals, with a few having light purple petals. The center of the flower is usually yellow or gold. You can find some asters with pink petals and purple centers as well. There are even a few varieties that have red petals and red, orange or yellow centers.
How to Grow Asters: Growing Conditions
Asters need full sun to partial shade to thrive. You can plant them in areas that receive no direct sun, but the plants will not look as good or produce many blooms. If you live in an area that experiences cold weather, plant your asters in an area that receives some protection from the winter cold. You can also plant them in a raised bed to ensure that the roots are not subjected to freezing temperatures.
Asters grow best in average to dry conditions, though they can tolerate some wet soil. Make sure the soil has good drainage. If not, you can add gravel or crushed rock to the bottom of your flower bed to improve drainage.
You can grow asters from seeds, or you can purchase the plants from nurseries. The plants can grow in large clumps or as individual plants. Whichever you decide, plant your asters three to six inches apart. Each plant should have room to grow without crowding the others.
How to Grow Asters: Care Guidelines
Asters need little care when planted correctly in the conditions described above. Water them regularly, but do not over water. The plants rot easily, so make sure the soil is dry before you water again. You can tell by sticking your finger in the soil up to your first knuckle. If it feels moist, do not water.
This test works best in the winter, when watering should be less frequent than in other seasons.
Fertilize your asters in the spring only, and then only if you believe the plant is looking less than healthy or it has stopped blooming. Use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous. Follow the directions on the package for the correct dosage.
Pruning can improve the health of your asters, though you should do it right after they bloom. Prune out any dead wood and any branches that are growing toward the ground, as these are signs your plant is getting old. Deadhead spent blooms regularly to keep the plant looking fresh and to ensure you get new blooms the following year.
Asters have few problems other than those common to many plants in general. The exception is their tendency to attract Japanese beetles. These insects can completely decimate an aster patch if you do not take precautions. Try dusting the plants regularly with a product containing Sevin to keep the beetles away.
Asters do not tend to have diseases, but Botrytis, commonly known as gray mold, can affect the flowers if they are left in water for too long. If you deadhead your blooms and keep them picked, you should not experience this problem.
While asters themselves do not have many problems, they do tend to attract pests such as aphids and Japanese beetles. See the Care Guidelines above for information on how to handle these.
Sources & references used in this article:
Using the British national collection of asters to compare the attractiveness of 228 varieties to flower-visiting insects by M Garbuzov, FLW Ratnieks – Environmental entomology, 2015 – academic.oup.com
EVALUATION OF FIFTEEN PERENNIAL GARDEN ASTERS FOR USE IN ARKANSAS1 by LM Goff, G Klingaman… – Arkansas Agricultural …, 1999 – scholarworks.uark.edu
Fusarium wilt of China aster by KF Baker – US Dep. Agric. Yearb. Agric, 1953 – sad.hmarts.ru
Growing garden asters by RJ McAvoy – … greenhouse newsletter-University of …, 1993 – hortscans.ces.ncsu.edu
Some prospects of growing and use of china aster for space greening in Podillia zone by VM Cherniak, VM Prokopchuk… – Науковий вісник НЛТУ …, 2018 – nv.nltu.edu.ua
Production and marketing of garden asters. by R Eddy – Floriculture Indiana: Indiana Flower Growers …, 1994 – hortscans.ces.ncsu.edu