Monday, July 13, 2009

Astonishing Asters

Excellent for massed bedding and as a cut flower, asters are easy to grow and there are both annual and perennial varieties (annual asters sown for late summer bedding are properly called callistephus).

Asters grow well in average soils, but needs full sun. Although some varieties flower in summer, Asters are best known for being a beautiful addition to an autumn flower garden. When so many other flowers end of their growing season, asters continue to thrive and provide brilliant colour and scent to an otherwise sad landscape.

Asters are easily grown from division. Aster plants do best if divided every two to three years. Simply dig out half to two thirds of the plants, leaving the remainder in place. Then separate the portion you dug out into two sections and plant in another location or give them to a friend.

Plant asters into your garden into an area where they can be grown for years. Spacing depends upon size with miniature varieties spaced four to 15cm apart, and giant varieties 30cm to 60cm apart. Place smaller varieties around the front of your flower garden as a border. Put larger varieties towards the back of the flowerbed

Asters will grow well in average soils. But, like all plants, they will reward your with bigger blooms and a healthier plant if you add plenty of compost. Also, add a general purpose fertilizer once a month.

Once your perennial asters are established, they should grow well for years. Soil should be moist, but not wet. They will withstand dry periods. Water them during dry periods, once or twice a week to keep growth vibrant.  Add mulch around the plants for appearance and to keep weeds down.

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