Aster flowers Description

Grow Perennial Aster Flower Plants for Fall Blooms

April 26, 2014 – 07:21 am

Pics of Aster Flower

Like garden mums, asters flower in response to the shortening days of fall, giving gardeners a carpet of daisy-like flowers on a compact plant from August through September, depending on the variety.

Asters are a rich source of nectar, and because they flower at the height of monarch butterfly migration season, they are a frequent way station for these insects. The flowers are also bee magnets, so individuals with bee sensitivities should plant asters away from the garden path.

Latin Name:

Family Asteraceae, Genus Symphyotrichum

Common Names:

Michaelmas daisy

Zone:

Zones 3-8, depending on variety

Size:

Dwarf ground cover varieties like Snowdrift may grow no taller than 4 inches. Native asters can grow up to 3 feet tall, and may require staking.

Exposure:

Sun to partial sun

Bloom Period:

Late summer through fall

Description:

Perennial asters grow on mounding or upright plants with lance-shaped foliage, producing autumn blooms in shades of blue, red, white, and pink. The flower is welcome in the fall garden to complement mums, which aren’t available in blue shades.

Asters make a good cut flower for fall arrangements. Cut the flowers late in the evening to avoid contact with avid bee visitors. Take stems when about 1/5 of the flowers are open for the longest vase life.

Planting:

Asters appreciate soil on the slightly acidic side, with a pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.5. If your soil is alkaline, you can correct it by adding organic matter such as well-rotted manure, leaf mold, or compost.

Although asters are common in garden centers in the fall, when they are visually appealing, the plants need some time to develop a root system before the ground freezes if you expect them to come back in the spring. Plant asters as soon as they’re available in early fall, and keep them moist during any late hot spells to help them settle in.

Gardeners often blame the death of an aster the following year on hardiness issues, but many asters perish over their first winter due to heavy soils and poor drainage. If you have heavy clay in your flower garden, plant your asters in raised beds or consider double-digging the soil.

Source: flowers.about.com


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Instead of bothering trying to chill and start your seeds indoors, suggest you might Google up the site for White Flower Farms. They sell wildflower seed by the ounce or pound, it's not terribly expensive and it's ready to go into raked and prepared soil. They have several butterfly mixes.
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