Updated/Fact-Chacked on August 30, 2021 by John
Asters are the perfect autumn flowering plant as they can give you colour right through October – great news when you have lost all your summer colour like me.
Did you know that the flowers and leaves of Asters can be eaten? In fact, even its roots are being used for soups and Aster leaves are considered as greens. You’ll see throughout history how it’s possible to create so much from the use of asters.
Although it may not be a common practice, because they’re so beautiful, so many people want to plant and garden them in the United Kingdom. If you want to grow them too and you live in the UK, here are your options:
This is what is often referred to as Italian Asters. It’s great to grow in alkaline and neutral soil and doesn’t require much sun but can’t be totally blacked out. It actually flowers more with full sun. This aster doesn’t need staking and can grow up to 20inches height and spread. It’s famous varieties are usually pinkish or violet in color with bright yellow centres which is an excellent combination for a flower. They bloom mostly from August to early October.
A lot of aster experts would tell you to go for this variety especially the monch one. It’s really pretty and almost as if you’re looking at a painting. It makes a great cut flower and has a longer flowering period compared to other asters which is from July to October. Plus they’re good to grow on almost any kind of soil.
This is more commonly known as New England asters and looks so much like Michaelmas Daisies. If you’re lucky, you might get the variety that closes at night
How to Grow Asters
The best option to start your Aster journey is by starting with pot grown plants. You can do a cutting which is simpler compared to other plants. Look at the base and look for a suitable side shoot and just gently take it out and transfer it to another pot.
If your garden is pretty stable, then your asters don’t require a lot of watering. In fact, we don’t suggest you water them all the time or too much because too much humidity can make asters susceptible to mildew problems.
Semi-annually use fertiliser if you want the colors of your asters to look more vibrant. Just scatter a proportionate amount all over the soil.
Constantly check if you have any dead areas and slowly cut them off.
Most Common Problems with Asters
As a plant owner, you should be ready to detect and fix problems with your flowers anytime to ensure that your efforts don’t go to waste. Although asters can withstand a lot and are easy to grow, just like other plants, they also have their fair share of difficulties.
It’s important to note that most aster problems are superficial. This means you can detect them right away and so you don’t have an excuse to leave them untreated. Most of the time it’s powdery mildew which happens in humid areas to most kinds of plant that appears on all of its parts from leaves to fruits and everything in between. And although you can easily treat it with fungicides, we encourage homemade preventers instead.
Root rot might also be a problem if you don’t use and maintain the proper soil for your aster. The worst thing about root problems is that it can result in plant death right away so be sure to really look into their soil every so often.
Botrytis Blight may happen as well when there is too much humidity in a plant. It will kind of make your asters look old but they’re actually growing gray mold. This can be prevented by making sure you water carefully.
Pests can make your flowers look really ugly and unhealthy. You need to look out for leaf miners, caterpillars, leafhoppers and thrips. As long as you make sure the leaves of your asters are dry, you should be able to keep pests at bay. You may also use insecticides but only if there’s a lot of infestation.
John Green is a 46-year-old graphic designer living in Durham. John is RHS level 3 certified and owns an allotment in Durham.