The brilliant flowers of Aster brighten the autumn garden when little else is blooming. Aster is the Latin word for star and it aptly describes the starry flower heads. Another common name is Michaelmas daisy. Asters come in a wide variety of beautiful colours and help enliven the autumn garden. There are many varieties of Aster available to the home gardener and this video shows you some great selections of asters for autumn colour.
Asters thrive in areas with cool, moist summers. They produce blue, white, or pink flowers in the late summer or autumn. Plant height ranges from 8 inches to 8 feet, depending on variety. Tall varieties make good back of the border plants and are also attractive planted in naturalized meadows. Asters can be susceptible to powdery mildew and rust diseases, so choose disease-resistant varieties.
How To Grow Asters
When growing Asters, make sure that the plants get plenty of full, hot sun and good drainage. Cut half of an aster plant down when the blooms are fading.
- Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.
- Pinch young shoots back to encourage bushiness.
- Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
- Stake tall varieties to keep them upright.
- After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line.
- Divide plants every three to four years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps containing three to five shoots.