Asters Plant: Care, Growing Guide, & Facts
Asters Plant Description
The fact that the most beautiful weather of the gardening season corresponds with the demise of most flowering plants is a cruel trick of Mother Nature. Asters (Symphyotrichum), on the other hand, refuse to participate in the joke.
Asters, like garden mums, bloom in response to the shorterening days of autumn, providing gardeners with a lovely spectacle of buds from August through October.
Asters, which are native to North America, come in a variety of species and genera, as well as hundreds of cultivars, but for gardeners, they’re just lovely flowers that produce purple or blue daisy-like blossoms late in the season.
Asters are long-lived perennials that may become a constant feature of your landscape, despite the fact that they are generally sold as seasonal items among displays of pumpkins and hay bales.
Though asters have a wildflower appearance, they are also lovely in cut flower arrangements. Asters appeal to pollinators such as bees and butterflies, as well as humans.
They may be an uncommon source of late-season honey if cultivated in the autumn, making them a vital flower for pollinators. Asters may be planted at virtually any time of year, but the best time is in the spring, when potted nursery plants are plentiful.
These quick-growing perennials will be ready for a good fall show in their first year, and once entrenched, they will last for several years. They grow up to 1 to 6 feet tall and 1 to 4 feet wide, depending on species.
How To Care Asters?
Whereas aster blooms may be grown from seeds cultivated in the spring, it can take many years for them to mature into full-sized plants. Asters are frequently planted in potted nursery plants.
They want loamy, well-draining soil and enough room around the plants for their roots to develop. The root clumps must be pulled up and divided every three years or so to protect the plants from becoming too woody and withering out in the middle.
The woody heart of the plant can be removed and the outside segments replanted. When the foliage has been killed by frost, cut the stems at the ground surface.
This may also be done in the spring to allow birds to dine on the flower seeds throughout the winter—aster seeds are particularly popular with finches and chickadees.
How To Grow Asters?
Plant our aster flowers in a location that receives the bulk of the day’s sunlight. Too much shadow might result in lanky plants with fewer blooms, especially in common varieties and hybrids. Yet, there are certain native species variants that thrive in somewhat gloomy environments.
Asters like mildly acidic loamy soil with a pH range of 5.8 to 6.5. If your soil is alkaline, add organic substances like well-rotted manure, leaf mould, or compost to balance it out.
Maintain a moist environment for new plants and water them regularly until the blooms have completed flowering. As a general rule, the soil in which your asters grow should be continuously damp but never waterlogged.
One thing to keep in mind when watering your asters is to avoid spraying water on the foliage, since this can lead to mildew or fungal development. For most perennial plants, one inch of rain or weekly watering is generally sufficient.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Aster flowers flourish in colder temperatures and are frost resistant, meaning they can endure temperatures below freezing for a short period of time. Asters have no unique humidity requirements and hence do not require higher humidity levels or additional spritzing.
Asters are modest feeders, and they benefit from being fed twice a month with a blended flower fertiliser, starting in the spring and continuing until the blooms open. Stop feeding asters in August since excess nutrients might limit the flowering duration.
Varieties of Asters
Asters are classified as a genus of plants in the Asteraceae family, and their classification is quite convoluted. Several species were previously placed in the Aster genus, but they have since been transferred to the Symphyotrichum genus.
New England asters, for example, are currently classified as Symphyotrichum novae-angliae and are known as S. novae-angliae. Symphyotrichum novi-belgii is the scientific name for New York asters.
Finally, a number of species, comprising hybrid crosses and designated cultivars, remain that belong to the original Aster genus. A. amellus and A. thomsonii are two of the most common parents in hybrid cultivars offered in nurseries.
Most gardeners don’t have to bother with taxonomic distinctions because all of these plants are sold as asters, have daisy-like blooms, and function similarly in the garden.
Although the original species were wildflowers native to North America and Eurasia, present garden versions are mainly hybrids engineered to provide new colours and more tame plants. The following are some of the most popular cultivars:
1. ‘Celeste’: These dark blue blooms have beautiful yellow centres and bloom early.
2. ‘Hazy’: The “hazy” aster has raspberry-pink flowers with yellow centres and blooms early.
3. ‘Puff’: The puff aster is a hardier white variety than most of the others, and it blooms first.
How To Propagate Asters?
Asters can be reproduced by saving seeds or rooted stem cuttings, but the simplest method is to dig up the root clump and divide it into parts for replanting.
The clumps will live regardless of when you divide them, but if you divide them in late autumn or early spring the next year, the plants will be developed enough to put on a fall extravaganza in their first year.
Because aster roots are strong, you’ll need to cut the clusters into pieces using a sharp spade. After replanting, water well and feed the divisions with bone meal to provide phosphorus for rapid root development.
Common Pests and Diseases in Asters
Aster foliage is susceptible to rust and powdery mildew disease. To minimise these issues, follow the plant spacing guidelines to optimise air circulation and avoid splashing watering. The majority of insect pests avoid asters, however lace bugs can be a nuisance.
The damage they wreak is more noticeable than the insects themselves, which are minuscule and have a generic grayish-brown hue.
In the summer, if you see yellowing foliage and leaf drop, apply bug soap to the plants, covering both sides of the foliage to kill any lurking pests. Because lace insect outbreaks occur before aster flowering, spraying will not harm butterflies or bees.