Perennials Overview: Asters

asters

 

Botanical Name: Callistephus chinensis

Common Name(s): China aster

Height: 6 inches to 2 ½ feet

Zone: 4-9

Bloom Time: July-Frost

Soil Conditions: Rich, well-drained soil

Sun: Full sun

A member of the daisy family, the aster, meaning ‘star’ in Greek, was so named for its shape.  There are over 200 species of aster in North America.  Most asters are perennials, though with so many species, some are annuals.  Several Indian tribes used aster medicinally including the Ojibwa and  Chippewa. Some tribes believed the smoke from the plant could revive a person whom had fainted, others brewed the plant as tea for headaches.

Planting

Sow asters directly into the soil after all danger of frost has passed.  Asters love full sun and can tolerate drought as long as they are planted in well-drained soil.  If you are in hot climate, plant asters in partial shade.

Repeat sowing every three weeks for continuous blooms throughout the season.

For earlier blooms, start seed indoors 6-8 weeks prior to last spring frost.  They cannot tolerate cold weather so wait until the threat of all frost has passed prior to transplanting outdoors.

Asters can be propagated by cuttings that are taken in the summer.

Care

Water asters regularly.  Applying mulch around the plant will help the soil to retain moisture.

Do not plant asters in the same location/soil where you have planted asters in the past three years.  Divide plants every three years in the spring.

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