Asters: How-to Plant and Grow These Flowers

I love asters (Aster spp.) for the cheerful notes they add to my garden in summer. Generally they’re low maintenance plants and it’s easy to grow asters from seed. They resemble daisies with their star-shaped heads and they attract butterflies. Aster is a genus of plants in the Asteraceae family. There are about 180 species of asters in total. 

Asters flowers come in many shades and they're easy to grow from seed.
By Guillaume-Flickr


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When asters bloom

Asters bloom in summer and fall. For a great article about how to care for cut flowers and foliage, check out the article by the University of Illinois Extension Service.

Size

Some varieties are compact, while others can grow as tall as 8 feet and will require staking. If you want to keep the plants on the compact side, prune or pinch them back in midsummer.


Watering asters

Getting the right moisture level is the key with them; too little or too much water and they may not flower properly. So just keep an eye on them to spot any issues early on, especially when they’re young.

When you grow asters outside or in containers, be sure to give them 1-2 inches of mulch to prevent the soil from drying out too much.

Also, try to water them at ground level. They’re susceptible to powdery mildew and fungal diseases, and keeping the leaves dry is a good preventative measure. The mildew won’t kill the flowers, but it won’t look pretty.

Pests

The main culprit you may battle is gray lace bugs, which like to feed on the succulent stems.

Where to plant asters

Asters fit in well in borders, wildflower gardens, rock gardens, dry zones, and around water features like ponds.

If you want to buy aster plants and seeds

More facts on how to grow asters:

TYPE: Perennial, Annual, Biennial, Subshrub

ZONES: 3-9

LIGHT REQUIRED: Full sun to partial shade

HEIGHT: 1 to 8 feet

SPREAD (WIDTH): 1 to 4 feet

FLOWER COLOR: Pink, White, Blue, Purple, Lavender

SEASONAL DETAILS:

  • Blooms in fall and spring
  • Sprinkle seeds directly outdoors

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Drought tolerant
  • Attracts birds
  • Low maintenance
  • Great for containers
  • Great for cutting
  • Many attract butterflies

HOW TO PROPAGATE:

  • Leaf cuttings
  • Division
  • Seed

COMPANION PLANTINGS:

Mums, especially fall-blooming varieties

Goldenrod

Coneflowers

Cornflowers


Which are your favorite varieties of asters? Leave a comment below!

Travis Neighbor Ward is an award-winning editor in chief, magazine and web writer, and a best-selling author of fiction and nonfiction. She has written extensively about interiors, lifestyle, travel, gardening, and health. To read more about her fiction writing, visit www.travisnward.com.

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