Family Compositea - Daisy
Annual asters put on a late summer show with an array of flower colors and types which will really catch your eye. The color pallette includes white, purple, pink, lavender, blue, rose, and many shades in between, and some variegated flowers. There are single flowers, double flowers, quilled types which resemble sea anemones.
The annual, or China, aster is a good cutting flower which will produce wonderful fresh bouquets for your table. They look great if you just leave them be in the garden, too, but you should dead head them to keep the blooms coming longer.
Callistephus chinesis is a tender annual which should not be planted in the garden until all frost danger has past. Seeds may be direct sown, if desired, as the plants grow rather quickly. The China aster may also be seeded into seed flats in the hot bed or greenhouse, transplanted into flats and then set into the garden after the last frost date.
Full sun to filtered sun is the best environment for the garden aster. The plants must be kept well watered in the garden, as they will not prosper in dry conditions. Any decent garden soil should be adequate for them to grow well.
Subject to wilt, the annual aster should not be planted in the same spot two years in a row. It is also prone to the aster yellow disease. This can be avoided by seeding the plants in the greenhouse and setting out good sized plants in the spring. The plants should mature before the disease gets them.
The China aster is native to China, of course, and also Japan. The botanical name, Callistephus, is derived from two Greek words. Kalli, which means beautiful, and stephanos, which means suitable for a wreath. China aster was brought to Europe in the eighteenth century.
The Garden Aster will be a good addition to your flower annual flower garden, producing cut flowers in a variety of colors and shapes for your fresh table bouquet.
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