Asters - The jewels of the autumn garden
Why plant Asters?
Asters that flower in September and October are the perfect plants for the autumn garden.
In fact, the best thing about Asters is that their late flowering offers a splash of colour in the garden when other plants are deciding to go to sleep for the winter.
You may have heard people calling Asters the Michaelmas Daisy because they flower around 'Michaelmas' or the "Feast of St Michael" (the 29th September in the Christian Calendar) and can flower for weeks further into the autumn. They are meant to signal the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.
The daisy-type flowers come in an array of colours, most often in pinks, purples and blues.
Aster flowers are also loved by bees and butterflies, as they provide a great source of food later on in the year.
|Perennial Asters make great border plants, and look good growing with Rudbeckia and grasses for late season interest. By planting mixtures in swathes, you can create a good 'prairie' look.|
Asters make brilliant cut flowers too, so if you like creating your own bouquets of home grown flowers, they make the perfect accompaniment to other autumn flowering varieties.
The Proven Winners Autumn Jewels collection (pictured above) of Asters last well into the autumn and are nicely compact so they don't get too tall and 'leggy'. This means they are lower maintenance as they don't need any supporting stakes. They come in six shades of pinks, blues and purples and make an excellent low maintenance border plant for natural flowering in September through October.
How to care for Asters
Asters are not very fussy. (Good News!)
You can plant them in spring to allow them to grow on and flower in autumn, but you can also plant the Autumn Jewels collection in autumn for instant impact in your border with flowers that will return year after year.
They are best grown in evenly moist, well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. The more compact varieties look good in pots, and all Asters can be planted in raised beds and borders too.
| When plants are growing and flowering they need regular feeding to help them look their best. Your local garden centre will be able to recommend a feed to suit you. Remember not to feed once your plants have died back over winter, as the plants won't absorb the feed and it would be a waste that may also drain into streams and rivers once washed away.|
Many Asters don't need staking, but if you have opted for less compact varieties, or ones with stems that aren't very strong, you may need to stake them to hold them upright, especially in windy gardens. It's easier to do this before they become really tall.
One problem that Asters sometimes come across is powdery mildew and is something to look out for. It looks like a powdery white or gray-white fungus growing on leaves and stems.
If you notice your Asters showing these symptoms, remove the affected parts of the plant. Your local garden centre will be able to help with remedies.
At Proven Winners we trial all of our varieties thoroughly before we grow them for people to plant in their gardens. Our Autumn Jewels collection has been bred to be much more resistant to powdery mildew so this issue should be less of a worry.
Did You know?
Did you know that the perennial Aster (Michaelmas Daisy) is a daylight sensitive plant. Reduce the day length to 12 hours and you will initiate flowers in the summer!
The name Aster comes from Greek and means Star.