Aster is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Its circumscription has been narrowed, and it now encompasses around 180 species, all but one of which are restricted to Eurasia; many species formerly in Aster are now in other genera of the tribe Astereae.
Bloom time: Summer, Fall, Winter
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. The plant's height ranges from 8 inches to 8 feet, depending on the type. You can find an aster for almost any garden and they have many uses, such as in borders, rock gardens, or wildflower gardens. Asters also attract butterflies to your garden!
- Asters prefer climates with cool, moist summers, especially cool night temperatures.
- Select a site with full sun to partial sun.
- Soil should be moist, well-drained, and average to humus-rich.
- Plany asters in early- to mid-spring. Fertilize soil prior to planting.
- While the plant 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. After 4 to 6 weeks, put the seeds in a sunny spot.
- Set seeds one inch deep.
- Many gardeners purchase a potted plant from the nursery.
- Space asters 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the type.
- Water plants in well. Add mulch after planting to keep soil cool and prevent weeds.If you're replanting shoots, use vigorous, young shoots to ensure best growth.
- Add a thin layer of compost with a 2–inch layer of mulch around the plants every spring.
- 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 variesties in order to keep them upright and remember to pinch the young shoots to encourage bushiness.
- Cut asters back in winter after the foliage has died.
- Divide every 2 to 3 years in the spring to maintain your plant's vigor and flower quality.