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China aster, an easy-to- grow annual known for its showy blossoms, is a favorite cut flower that flowers late spring or early summer through fall. This cool-weather plant comes in an array of colors and heights.
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garden plans for China aster
The white, pink, red, blue, violet, purple, or yellow flowers typically open 3 to 5 inches in diameter, depending on the variety. The most common form is a single row of colorful petals around a yellow central disk; however, there are semidouble types with several rows of outer petals around a yellow disk, double blooms with no yellow center visible, and shaggy pom-poms popular in bouquets. The oval medium-size green leaves have slightly serrated edges.
China Aster Care Must-Knows
You'll get an upright plant with vibrant colors when China aster is planted in rich, consistently moist soil that is well-drained. A cool-season grower, it will not be happy in warm Southern climates during the summer. If it gets too hot, the plant is likely to stop blooming, but it comes back in fall with another cool-season show.
If starting indoors, sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. If sowing directly into a garden bed, sow seeds after the last frost date with successive plantings at two-week intervals. Plants appreciate good air circulation, and tall varieties may require staking or other support.
China aster is susceptible to a few pests, including aphids and spider mites. Potential diseases include aster yellows, aster wilt, and stem rot. The best solution is to dig up and remove diseased plants. You may also need to move plants to different locations each year in order to prevent transmission of diseases.
Work is ongoing to develop even more eye-catching varieties on sturdier stems to take advantage of these long-lasting flowers in bouquets. But there are also varieties being grown with the home gardener in mind. Because of this, a wide variety of different heights are available.