Asters meaning "star" in Latin are sometimes commonly called "colored daises" - but they are actually part of the same family as sunflowers and daisies, as seen in their deep yellow centers - with brightly colored petals in white, lavender, purple, pink or red.
Perennial asters prefer well-drained soil with full or partial sun.
As seeds are slow to germinate, asters can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, or thereafter planted directly into the soil. As they establish themselves they form in to bushy clumps which after a few years should be divided and
Perennial asters and chrysanthemums both benefit from pinching back to extend the growing season, The result is a bushier plant and a profusion of flowers.
Begin pinching back asters in mid-June, but curtail any pruning after early July, or it will have the opposite effect - leaving the plant without any blossoms in the fall.
Easy to care for and generally drought resistant, asters one drawback is that they are susceptible to powdery mildew, which can be avoided by ensuring lots of room for air and light to circulate around them.
The "star" of the autumn garden, perennial asters are a mainstay in any flower garden and provide colorful blooms at the end of the summer just when most other flowers are fading...
Aster fun facts
• Asters are September birth flowers and are also the 20th wedding anniversary flowers.
• The flower is actually a collection of very tiny tubular flowers, grouped together in a central disk, and surrounded by so-called golden ray flowers or petals.
• Asters are often planted in the home garden to attract birds and butterflies.
On the Web - How to plant & grow asters :
Bushy Aster - Picture, description and how to's, soil and sun requirements, related links.
Aster - Plant Pest Handbook - Descriptions and remedies for common diseases with similar information on common aster pests, including aphids, aster leafhoppers, blister beetles, stalk borer and more.