Asters – old fashioned and lovely

Single, 'Super chinensis' aster

Single, ‘Super chinensis’ aster

Autumn means asters to most gardeners and that usually refers to perennial asters – real asters (or they used to be till they were renamed as symphyotrichum). But late summer is also the season of annual asters or, more properly, callistephus – unless those meddling botanists have been at work here too!

As bedding plants they are a bit lacking because they do not bloom till quite late and they have a finite number of buds so you do not get a long display of blooms. But their flowers are lovely and they make excellent and long lived cut flowers.

Apart from ignoring the dwarf ‘bedding types’, it is difficult to chose a favourite though I always love the single ‘super chinensis’ types with their bright, yellow centres.


And of the doubles, I prefer the needle-petalled types that open into large ‘fibre optic’ blooms, such as T&M’s ‘Spider Chrysanthemum Mixed’ or ‘Unicum’.

These asters are grown as half hardy annuals. I sow the seeds in mid to late March in seed trays in gentle heat (20c). The seedlings are transplanted into small cell trays and grown on in the greenhouse and put outside to harden off in early May, making sure they are not frosted. The seedlings are planted out in late May and spacing varies but they need at least 20cm to give them room to grow. They require full sun to bloom well and apart from a soil disease that you may never experience, the only real pest is aphids.





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3 Comments on “Asters – old fashioned and lovely”

  1. joy
    September 6, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    its easy to forget how lovely they are must do something about it next year

  2. Meriel
    September 6, 2015 at 11:52 am #


  3. Anonymous
    September 10, 2020 at 4:21 pm #

    I have old fashioned asters blooming at the moment, they are a deep pink and have many more petals than the ones above. I did not plant them and they are beautiful.

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