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The varieties of asters
From the Asteraceae family, the genus aster brings together 600 species and hybrids, which vary in size (from 30 cm to 150 cm) as well as in color. Among them are many varieties from aster novae-angliae and aster novi-belgii, such as Patricia Ballard with pink-lilac flowers, Winston Churchill with purple flowers and Helen Picton with purple flowers. Smaller in size, asters ericoides and dumosus are other interesting and resistant species.
The aster (aster) is a remarkable plant for its abundant and sustainable flowering. The star-shaped flowering aster (the term aster derives from Latin as from the Greek and means "star") presents an astonishing variety of colors: purple, pink, white, blue, very appreciated for composing massifs. With a bushy habit, the stems, often branched, bear deciduous, simple and alternate leaves, lanceolate or more or less toothed. The abundant flowers are flower heads located at the end of the stems, solitary or grouped in bouquets.
The asters have very varied ports which make it possible to put them at ease in any circumstances: in edge, in a rock garden, mixed with clumps of shrubs or in the flowerbeds.
To obtain abundant flowering, it is best to install theaster in a sunny situation, while making sure to mulch your foot to preserve the humidity. Undemanding, the aster appreciates all soils. This rustic resists extreme cold down to -15 ° C.
The planting period of the aster varies depending on the species and takes place in the fall or spring depending on the flowering periods of each. The asters which flower until summer are planted in spring. We plant in the fall those that bloom from September to October-November. For flowering in spring or summer, you can turn to the Aster alpinus or tongolensis. You will prefer the Aster divaricus or amellus for a summer flowering. For flowering in the fall, you will choose varieties like Aster novae-angliae or Aster novi-belgii.
Very large asters need to be staked to stand straight. In bedding composition, it takes 5 feet per m².
Theaster in pot has more watering and fertilizer needs. Once every 15 days, it must be fertilized for flowering plants to make it last longer and renew its flowers.
The aster needs a regular watering and a liquid fertilizer every two weeks in summer.
In early winter or spring, cutting back the tuft as short as possible will densify the plant and promote the next flowering. To multiply them and to rejuvenate the plants in place, divide the stump in the spring, in April.
In beds or rock gardens, the aster is very easy to combine with other flowers, such as echinacea, anemones and dahlias, or succulents (sedum, crassula, aeonium, etc.).
Aster enemies and diseases
Although resistant to diseases,aster however has a small weakness in the face ofpowdery mildew. This is all the more true if the plant is in the shade or in a poorly ventilated situation near a wall.
Aster powdery mildew occurs mostly in the fall when the temperature differences between day and night are large. To prevent your planting of this disease, make garlic decoction sprays on your plants from August 15. Preventively, treat by spraying the asters with wettable sulfur as soon as the conditions are favorable for its appearance (end of August). Do this treatment twice, eight or ten days apart.
Uses of asters
The abundant and often offset flowering of asters has made these plants essentials in the autumn mountains. Combine them with Japanese anemones, dahlias, helianthus, rudbeckias or grasses.
Asters are also honey plants; choose varieties with early flowering, to install them at the edge of the vegetable patch.
For planting in pots or planters, opt for small and medium formats: Aster alpinus, Aster dumosus or even Aster amellus.