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FutureStarrWhen to Plant Asters
For the best color, asters should be planted in fall, but how do you know which plant is the best for your garden? Learn about the many different types of asters, how to specify the best types for your garden, how to plant them, and how to water them to grow big and strong.Most asters will need dividing every fourth year to maintain vigour. All asters are best divided in spring as new growth starts. Lift the clump and then use two back-to-back forks to split it. Take care of old stems, they can be sharp. Some varieties are denser and may need a knife or spade to cut through. Discard old woody pieces and use newer sections from the outside of the clump to replant. Add grit to the base of the hole on heavy ground before planting and water until established. The soothing blue hues of 'Bluebird' Smooth Aster feed our spirits and benefit birds, bees, and butterflies too, making it an essential addition to the late-season garden. Imagine dusky blue clouds of daisy-like flowers harmonizing with the golds, bronzes, and yellows of the late-summer to late-fall perennial garden. An easy-care, deer-resistant
When you think of pretty autumn plants, mums automatically come to mind. But there’s another fall-blooming perennial that your garden needs. Asters, a hardy plant that comes in shades of blue, lavender, pink, and purple, start blooming around the same time as mums when everything else in the garden is looking a little tired and shaggy. “They’re a beautiful alternative or companion to mums,” says Jan Boonstra Pavlinak, horticulturalist and help desk expert with Bluestone Perennials. “They’re pretty easygoing flowers, pollinators love them, and their colors are complementary to many other fall-blooming plants.” They’re not super-finicky, which is another reason to love these old-fashioned favorites. Basically, you don’t need to do anything but enjoy their blooms. If you’ve spring-planted, you may want to “pinch” off the tips of plants when they’re about 10 inches tall. Do that two to three times from late spring to early July to encourage bushiness. “You don’t absolutely have to trim them back, but you’ll get hundreds more flowers if you do, because every place you pinched becomes a new branch,” says Pavlinak.
It’s also not necessary to cut them back after blooms fade in the fall. “I like to leave some anyhow over the winter, so I remember where the plants are next year,” says Pavlinak. Next spring, be patient and don’t yank out the plant too soon because you think it’s not doing anything. They’ll come from the ground up, but they’re slow to show up and usually don’t appear until mid-May. In two to three years when they spread or start to get floppy, use a spade to divide them and replant the new clump elsewhere. Dividing & Transplanting: The easiest way to propagate asters is to take a division in spring. This will serve a double purpose of creating new plants to share with friends and reducing the size of an overgrown plant. Asters should be divided every 3 to 4 years so they don't get too large. Spring is also the best time to move an existing aster to a new location. In spring, after the ground thaws and plants start to grow, dig up the aster plant and make 6 to 8-inch diameter divisions with a group of leaves and roots. If you want to create just a few divisions, you can separate out pieces from the mother plant along the edge of the root ball, leaving the main plant intact. Replant the division immediately and keep well-watered. (Source: www.americanmeadows.com)