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Aster Turf

Blankets-and-fleece weather has arrived here in the Northeast, but we’re not quite ready to bid adieu to our gardens just yet. We’re savoring the last of the late-summer and early-fall flowers, including asters, which we love both for their weather-resistant toughness and for their ability to perk up a garden or a tabletop flower arrangement.

The name of the aster is derived from the ancient Greek for “star”—a nod to their showy, happy, daisylike shape. This perennial ranges in color from white to pink, red, lavender, purple, blue, and even bicolors, with a bright yellow center made up of tiny flowerets. Asters grow in broad, bushy clumps that bloom in August through October and are pretty easy to maintain, but we like to follow these general rules:

  • Asters grow well in average-quality soils, but full sun is a must
  • To grow from seeds, sow directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed; the plants will take from 15 to 30 days to germinate
  • Plant indoor-grown asters a minimum of 10 inches apart (more for larger varieties) after all danger of frost has passed
  • To encourage continuous blooming throughout the summer and early fall, promptly remove any spent flowers, and pinch 6 to 8 inches off the tops once or twice before mid-July
  • Asters can survive prolonged dry periods, but should still be watered once or twice a week for the most vibrant blooms
  • Add compost and a general-purpose fertilizer to plantings once a month
  • Divide clumps every 3 to 4 years in the early spring, or in the late fall after the plants have finished flowering; plant elsewhere in the garden or in pots, or give to friends
  • For flower arrangements, cut the stems low on the plant and then submerge them immediately in water; all aster colors are mix-and-matchable, so go for bright, cheery bunches in colorful vases

 

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1 comment

Aster Flower May 20, 2012 at 12:03 am

Asters are by far my favourite flower. My love for them is mainly attributed to their weather resistance and how easy they are to care for.

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