How to grow and care for Aster Flowers

Planning a Summer Balcony Garden can be a little tricky if you have no clue what to plant Or You want to have a lovely flowering plant that comes in a variety of colors but is unsure of which ones compliment the space and climate.

Are you also looking for a plant low on maintenance? If the answer to these questions is Yes, then the Aster plant is an outstanding choice. Now, let us see how to grow aster flowers?

These flowers pose as admirable cut flowers and add a hue of color to the balcony. They can be planted at the beginning of summer and you will still have a full bloom in about 40 days.

This blog focuses on the Aster plant and goes into detail about growing and caring for Aster flowers in a balcony garden.

What is an Aster Flower? 

Asters are Summer and Fall blooming plants with flowers that add a colourful hue to your balcony garden. These plants have starry-shaped flower heads similar to that of daisies.

The beauty of this plant is that it blooms in late summer when most of the flowering plants start to wither, making it an excellent choice when planted in combination with other plants.

This way your balcony garden is always colorful. On the other hand, you can space out the seeding and planting process which will have them bloom at different times through summer and fall. 

What is an Aster Flower
Aster Flower

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Do Asters grow well in pots?

To grow aster flowers, we should know do asters grow well in pots?

Asters area great addition to any landscape. They are more common in gardens and open spaces as they can reach up to 8 ft in height. These plants attract bees and butterflies and are nature’s way of keeping the nectar supply available till late spring and through summer.

This being said Asters are an excellent addition to balcony gardens as they are low on maintenance and do not need much attention. They nurture well in pots and require partial to full sun to grow. This makes them a perfect choice for a balcony garden.

Do asters bloom more than once?

Asters are perennials and return to bloom every year. This can be managed by planting different variants and managing when they are planted.

In this way, the blooming period is spread out. These variants can be planted on the same bed.

For instance, a combination of summer, later summer, and fall variants in the same planter will ensure you have flowers through both seasons. When one variant fades the other will bloom keeping the garden evergreen or everblooming.

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How do you grow and care for Aster flowers?

Now, we will see how to care for and grow aster flowers.

Choosing the right conditions for growth:

To get Aster Flowers growing and blooming well it is essential to keep a few things in mind. 

  • Asters prefer comparatively cool and moist summers especially the ones that have cool nights. If the place you live in is warm, be careful to shield the plant from extremely hot mid-day temperatures. 
  • These plants grow well in zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
  • Multiple variants can be grown in the same planter as long as the soil is loamy and well-drained. 
  • While preparing the soil for plantation be sure that you add the compost to either a store-bought or home-made potting mix. This makes the texture and nutrient value of the soil more consistent. 
  • They grow well in existing conditions and do not require additional heating or temperation alteration.
Do Asters grow well in pots

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Planting Aster Flowers

Asters can be grown from seeds that are available locally or over the internet. Germination takes time and can often be uneven.

In to avoid a patchy planter you can invest in a germination tray where you leave the plants until they are about 4inches tall and then transfer them to the actual planter you would like to retain them in. The germination and transferring

The process takes about 4-6 weeks. Simply sow the seeds an inch deep and leave it in a sunny spot at home. 

Multiple variants of Asters can be planted in a single planter. in case you plan on doing so, plant them 3 to 5 inches apart this will give them space to bloom.

During the planting, an initial growing phase these plants require plenty of water. Adding a layer of mulch will help retain moisture keep the soil cool and at the same time prevent unwanted grass or weeds. 

How do you grow and care for Aster flowers

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How often should you water asters plants?

During the planting and germination phase, asters require a lot of hydration. Once they have grown continue to water them regularly be extra careful on very hot days.

Pay attention to the soil, if it looks cracked or flaky water them again. Asters love moisture but cannot stand soggy soil.

Hence, it is necessary to use a potting mix that drains well. a layer of sand or gravel in the pot will aid in the drainage process. Make sure the pot is the well-draining type before planting.

TIP: If you notice that your plants are losing lower foliage or not flowering. It could be due to a lot of moisture or not enough. 

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How to water Aster Flowers?

While watering these plants it is necessary to water at the roots and not over the plant. We tend to water plants to moisten and clean the leaves but, when it comes to Asters, it will only cause the plant to stoop.

To avoid this water the plants at the bottom using the slow watering technique. This can be done in a way that the plant can suck in all the moisture required and the rest can drain easily. 

How to care aster plant

Caring for Aster plants is fairly simple.

Water them regularly and trim them often. In parks and gardens, there is more space and hence these plants can tower to 8 to 10 feet without much effort but in balcony gardens, there is generally a space constraint.

On the other hand, they look more in control and are not flopping around the place. Pruning them regularly will keep overgrowth in check. It will also make the plant look more managed and put together. 

Once the flowers have bloomed and dried off you will be left with deadheads that need to be pinched off. This promotes the growth of new flowers and delays the seeding process. Be cautious while pinching off old flowers as Asters grow new buds just under the old flower heads.

Asters can be left in the pot even after they wither as they self-seed and germinate. If you are not planning to use the post for other plants you can just leave them there till next season. 

TIP: We suggest you rotate plants and keep the seeds handy for the following seasons without stacking pots with leftover weeds and plants. Are Aster Plants susceptible to any diseases? 

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Are Aster plants susceptible to diseases?

Asters are known to be low maintenance with limited disease and insect problems. This being said it is important to keep an eye out for diseases at the onset itself to keep the plant safe from further harm.

The most common disease that affects aster plants is powdery mildew, this problem can be prevented by keeping the plant in a well-aired place and by pruning and pinching away dead flowers and stems.

Few variants are resistant to mildew so these variants can be planted. Powered Mildew can be treated with an organic spray available locally. These sprays largely contain potassium bicarbonate and are good to treat the problem. 

Rust is most common in New England asters while the New York asters and other variants left in poorly drained soil can develop Wilt disease. The Lace bug is another common problem, these tiny greyish insects latch on to the leaves and feed on the juices until they eventually die.

Early detection and treatment are the best options to treat these. They are generally seen on the New York aster and here are the signs to look for are yellowing leaves that ultimately turn brown and fall off.

TIP: Dispose of infected parts of pants. Keep the infected material away from the compost bin if you are preparing it at home. 

Other common problems are White Smut, Aphids, Tarsonemid mites and leaf spots these can be easily detected and treated using medication available at local nurseries or over the internet. 

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What are the different types of Aster Flowers available?

To grow aster flowers are not so difficult. Now, let us see the different types of aster flowers are available.

There are a large number of variants of the Aster plant that are available in the market. The two primary types are the New England Aster and the New York Aster.

The difference between the two is subtle and hence it gets difficult to tell them apart. The New England Aster is about 3 to 4 feet in height though taller variants are available. the stem is thick with hairy leaves.

These generally have full and dense flowers and bloom late summer or early fall. The New your Aster, on the other hand, includes several short cultivars that are about 2 to 4 feet tall. They have thinner stems and smoother leaves. 

How often should you water asters plants

The other variants of the aster plants available are 

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Heath aster

This type of Asters typically grows to about 3 to 4 feet in height. They have tiny, narrow leaves. this plant is covered with a large number of small white daisy-type flowers in late summer and early fall. Other variants of this type may bloom a little later.

Aromatic aster

The Aromatic Aster grows to about 2 to 4 feet and has numerous branches adorned with large flowers. These flowers can bloom to about an inch in diameter. This type blooms in fall.

The leaves of this plant are narrow but wider than the health star and Calico Aster. The leaves are about an inch long and the foliage releases a distinct aroma.

Cal­ico aster

The Calico Aster is similar to the Health Star in appearance, the only difference is that it is a foot or two shorter. The flowers bloom in fall and appear to be growing from only one side of the stem. 

Wood aster

These plants are a bit taller as compared to other variants; they grow to about 4 to 6 feet. They are also known as the heartleaf aster owing to the heart-shaped hairy leaves.

The flowers of this plant grow along the smooth, thin, dark stem and are an inch or smaller in width. This plant blooms in late summer and through early fall. 

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Which Aster variants are the best?

After we saw how to grow aster flowers, now we will see, Which Aster variants are the best?.

As we know it Asters come in two variants the North American Aster and the New England Aster. Both these variants are native to North America and are the ideal flowers for pollinators. The native Aster species are generally preferred over the non-native species.

The list compiled comprises of the North American variant and the European or Eurasian variant.  

NORTH AMERICAN ASTERS

Smooth aster

These Asters are tall and upright aster with tiny lavender flowers.

New England asters

This aster variant has a wide range of colors ranging from magenta to deep purple. This variant grows larger than New York asters, they also have smaller variants.

Heath aster 

The health aster grows low and covers the planter and is adorned by small white flowers.

Blue wood aster

This variant is comparatively bushy and has small blue-to-white flowers.

EUROPEAN/EURASIAN ASTERS

Frikart’s aster 

This Aster variant is native to Switzerland. They are med-sized plants with large, lilac-blue flowers.

Rhone aster

This aster plants are is known for its small, lilac-blue flowers. The plant has a more dense and compact foliage with star-shaped flowers.

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In conclusion

Asters Flowers, which derive their name from the ancient Greek word ‘Aster’ meaning star is an excellent addition to your balcony garden as it provides a symphony of colors.

These plants come in different variants and bloom in early summer right through mid-fall making it the perfect addition to the garden as you will always have flowers in your planters. 

They are easy to grow and maintain as compared to other flowers. Planting them at different times and playing with available variants will prolong blooming resulting in more flowers through summer and fall.

These plants are not susceptible to many diseases but if infested they can be easily treated using herbal solutions available over the counter.

All in all, Aster Flowers are the perfect addition to your balcony garden as Growing and Caring for them is literally a walk in the park. I hope this helps to care for and grow aster flowers.