By Jennifer Poindexter
Are you in the market for a brightly colored flower to liven up your surroundings? Have you considered growing China asters?
These flowers come in a variety of colors and could make for a great addition to a traditional flower garden or container garden.
If you’re unfamiliar with how to grow this flower, don’t let this stop you. Instead, allow me to walk you through the basic information you must know to grow these flowers.
Here’s how you can begin growing China asters in your garden:
Growing Conditions for China Asters
China asters are frequently known as summer asters. No matter what you call them, you can expect a beautiful flower if you provide adequate growing conditions.
These flowers generally reach heights ranging from one to three feet. They’re considered annuals in planting zones two through eleven.
However, you may be able to overwinter them if you move the flowers to a greenhouse during the cooler portions of the year.
China asters bloom in white, red, pink, yellow, purple, and blue. Plus, they have a gorgeous, bold yellow center.
If you’re ready to grow these flowers, be sure to plant them in an area with full to partial sunlight. They aren’t particular about soil type as long as it drains properly and remains consistently damp.
You may also grow China asters in a container as this flower has a shallow root system. Be sure to select a planter that’s two inches wider than the plant once it has reached maturity. The planter should also be approximately one foot deep.
Expect China asters to produce at least twelve or more blooms per plant as long as they remain healthy and are grown where they can thrive.
Take these tips into consideration when selecting where to plant China asters. This could make all the difference in your growing experience with this plant.
How to Plant China Asters
Growing China asters is a straightforward process. You may either start the seeds indoors or direct sow them.
If you’d like to start the plants indoors, be sure to do so eight weeks prior to the final frost of spring. Fill a growing container with well-draining soil.
Place two seeds per cell of the growing tray. This serves as an insurance policy should one seed fail to germinate.
Be sure to keep the seeds consistently damp during the germination period. Do this by using a spray bottle of water to mist the soil.
You may even wrap the growing tray in plastic wrap to provide a greenhouse effect. Check the soil daily to ensure it never dries completely.
Place the growing tray in a location where the temperatures are around 70-degrees Fahrenheit. It should take the seeds between ten and fourteen days to germinate.
Once the plants have sprouted, continue to care for them. Once true leaves form on the plants, move them to three-inch pots for continued growth.
One week prior to the final frost, begin hardening the plants off. Place them outdoors for a few hours at a time to allow the flowers time to acclimate before their big move.
When all frost is over, transplant the China asters outdoors in their permanent growing location. Leave one foot of space between each plant.
Also, it’s wise to add a layer of compost to the planting area to ensure the flowers have everything they need.
The other method to growing China asters is to direct sow them. Before sowing seed, wait until all threat of frost is over.
Be sure to till up the soil in an area which provides the right growing conditions. From there, add a layer of compost.
When the soil temperatures are at or above 65-degrees Fahrenheit, you may begin sowing seed. Plant each seed 1/8” deep into the growing location.
Wait until they sprout and thin the plants to where there’s a foot of space between them. Be sure to water the soil lightly during the germination process to keep the ground soft but without suffocating the seeds.
After the plants have sprouted, continue providing adequate care. It should take around 120 days for the flowers to reach maturity, and you should be able to enjoy their blooms for approximately ten days.
China asters typically bloom from summer through fall. If you’d like to extend the blooming period, succession plant seeds every two weeks. This way, when one round of China asters die back, there will be more blooming behind them.
Now that you know the two methods to growing this plant, let’s discuss how to provide adequate care.
Caring for China Asters
China asters are low-maintenance flowers that require a few things from you to ensure their success.
The first thing you should do when growing these flowers is water them correctly. Once the plants have sprouted and are established, water them deeply.
This requires you to water the plants for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. In doing so, you’re encouraging the plants to develop deeper, stronger root systems which usually equates to healthier plants.
It’s also a good idea to mulch around China asters. This not only helps retain moisture, but it also suppresses weeds.
Next, be sure to fertilize these flowers using a balanced fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the product you choose to know the appropriate times to fertilize.
The only other things China asters need from you is regular deadheading to encourage new growth and a trellis to provide support.
By providing these basic needs, your flowers should thrive under your care.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact China Asters
So far, you’ve learned how to provide adequate growing conditions, proper planting techniques, and how to provide proper care to China asters.
Now, we must discuss how to go about protecting this plant from common threats in the garden. Be prepared as there are quite a few things to take note of.
Aster yellows and fusarium wilt have no known cure. Once your plants develop these issues, you must remove them from the garden bed and discard the plants.
Don’t compost as this will allow the disease to spread further as it will spread in your compost. Whatever the compost is used on could become infected with these diseases.
Aster wilt is a fungal issue that is difficult to treat. However, once it forms in your garden, it’s best to remove any infected plants.
From there, till up the soil, add water, and cover the garden plot with a plastic tarp. Allow the sun to cook the area for four to six weeks.
This should disinfect the garden area and allow you to begin planting in it once again. It may take multiple rounds of solarization depending upon how infested the area is with the fungus.
The remaining issues are also fungal based. Powdery mildew forms when excess moisture is trapped within the plant.
This can occur due to improper growing conditions or because of prolonged periods of rain. Should you notice this disease forming, correct any necessary growing conditions and spray the plant with a fungicide.
Root rot is the final disease that impacts China asters. This disease mainly occurs when plants are growing in locations with soil that drains poorly.
You can dig up the plant, allow it to dry for an hour or so before planting it in a better growing space. However, some plants don’t bounce back from this disease.
Therefore, it’s best to ensure you plant China asters in areas with the right growing conditions from the start.
All these issues can be treated with an insecticide. Pay close attention because the earlier you catch any of these threats, the less damage they can do to your flowers.
You now have all the basic facts you need to grow China asters. These are gorgeous annual flowers that are relatively low-maintenance.
Though they face quite a few threats around the garden, with proper treatment they should be able to withstand any issues they might face. If you’d like to add this beautiful flower to your landscape, take this information and start your own journey of growing China asters.