Flowers

Aster

The Aster is a genus of very, very broad herbs. 2338 species have been described, and although only 214 have been accepted, that number is high enough for all of us to have the possibility of enjoying at least one specimen throughout our lives.

In addition, they live in temperate regions around the world, which means that they can adapt to different conditions with ease.

Origin and characteristics

Asters are perennial or annual herbs, rarely shrubs, subshrubs, or climbers, that develop multiple stems. With alternate greenish leaves, they produce white, lilac, or pink flowers in chapters, and are solitary and terminal or corymbose. These usually sprout in spring, but they can also sprout in autumn if the conditions are right. The fruit is a fusiform achene.

Its growth rate is quite fast depending on the species, being able to reach 30cm in just a few months.

Main species

The most popular species are:

  • Aster alpinus: known as alpine asters. it is a perennial plant native to the mid-altitudes of the Alps. It grows between 25 and 35cm tall, and produces violet-blue flowers in summer.
  • Aster pyrenaeus: known as the star of the Pyrenees, endemic to the French side of the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa. It is perennial and reaches a height of between 40 and 60cm, with violet-blue flowers in summer.
  • Aster squamatus: known as green palico, matacavero, romperdallas or pirulero, it is a herbaceous plant native to South America that reaches a height of 2m. Produces white flowers in summer.
  • Aster tripolium: now known by the scientific name Tripolium pannonicum subsp. tripolium is a short-lived annual or perennial plant native to northern Europe that grows between 20 and 60cm tall. It blooms for a good part of the year, until after the summer, and its flowers are blue or white.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

Asters must be outdoors, either in full sun or in an area where they receive a minimum of 3 hours of direct light.

The more shade they have, the poorer their growth will be and the fewer flowers they will produce.

Earth

As they are relatively small plants, they can be grown both in pots and in the garden, so that the soil will be somewhat different depending on where they are kept:

  • Garden: it must be fertile, with very good drainage. Ideally, the pH should be somewhat acidic, between 5 and 6.5, but they have no problems with clay as long as they absorb water quickly.
  • Flowerpot: I advise putting a first layer of pumice, akadama or similar and then filling with universal growing substrate mixed with 30% perlite.

Irrigation

The frequency of watering these plants will vary greatly throughout the year. It must be borne in mind that they do not withstand drought, but giving them more water than they need means that they have a good chance of losing them. And it is that, it is often thought that the more water you pour on them, the better it will be, but the truth is that if they have too much of their roots they will literally drown.

So to avoid this, in addition to using a good substrate or planting them in suitable soils, it is very important to water when necessary, neither more nor less. And for this it is highly advisable to check the humidity of the soil before watering them, either by inserting a thin wooden stick or a digital humidity meter.

If we have them in a pot, what we can do is weigh it once watered and again after a few days, because dry soil weighs less than wet soil and this difference in weight will be of great help to know when to water.

Subscriber

From early spring to late summer, with organic fertilizers. In case of having them in a container, use liquid or granulated fertilizers, following the indications specified on the product packaging.

Multiplication

Asters multiply by seeds the vast majority of the time, or by division in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:

Seeds

  1. The first thing to do is fill a seedling tray (like this one ) with universal growing medium.
  2. Then, it is watered consciously.
  3. Afterwards, a maximum of two seeds are placed in each socket and covered with vermiculite.
  4. Finally, it is watered again, this time with a sprayer, and the seedling tray is placed outside, in full sun.

Thus they will germinate in 14-20 days.

Division

To divide the plants, they must be removed from the ground or pot, and with a serrated knife previously disinfected with alcohol, divide the root ball/ soil bread. Then it will only be left to plant each piece in different areas of the garden or containers.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring. If kept in a container, transplant every two or three years.

Rusticity

It depends on the species. There are some that do not resist cold at all and are annual, but there are others such as A. alpinus that do withstand frosts down to -18ºC.

What did you think of the Asters?

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