How to Grow Asters

How to Grow Asters

Asters are among the easiest fall-blooming flowers to grow. How? To grow asters, choose a location that gets full sun with soil that is well-drained and slightly acidic. Asters mix well with ornamental grasses and with perennial sunflowers, to which they are related, and are good candidates for container gardens on a porch or deck. They make good cut flowers for indoor arrangements.

Varieties

Also called Michaelmas daisies, asters come in many varieties that vary widely in height from 18 inches to 5 feet, with yellow-centered blooms of purple, white, pink, or blue. The expected height of your variety will dictate whether to put it at the front or at the back of the flowerbed. Taller varieties may require staking to remain upright when fully grown. After flowering, cut back plants that have become overgrown or gangly.

Propagating Asters

The most reliable method for propagating asters is by division of established plants in early spring. They tend to be invasive, so many gardeners have asters they want to dig up and share. Asters should be divided every two or three years in any case. To divide, simply dig up one-half to two-thirds of an established cluster. Separate the dug-up plant into two clumps and plant each in its new location. Water well.

Growing from Seed

Asters can be grown from seed, but because of hybridization often do not breed true. To grow asters from seed, plant seeds in pots indoors a few weeks before the last frost. When the danger of frost is past and seedlings are well established, plant them outdoors in a sunny, well-drained location. Seeds can also be planted directly outdoors after the last frost, however this method makes it difficult to control the spacing of the plants.

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