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Video: Aster Annual Will Decorate Any Garden
The annual aster is an unusually beautiful ornamental plant. It is used to decorate flower beds, flower beds, flower beds, or grown for cutting. There are terry and non-double asters.
Usually, gardeners prefer terry asters. Several tens of thousands of varieties have already been created thanks to extensive selection; they differ in the shape of the flower, and in color, and in the height of the bush.
According to the height of the bush, asters are divided into undersized (15-25 centimeters), they are mainly used to decorate the borders and edges of flower beds, medium-sized (30-45 centimeters) and tall (55-80 centimeters), which are used to decorate all types of flower beds and mostly grown for cut.
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Aster inflorescences are very large, reaching 15 and even 20 centimeters in diameter! And the very structure of the inflorescences can be different - simple, pink and peony, as well as pompom, "ostrich feather" and many others.
Its flowers are rich in a variety of colors - they are bright white, and red, and yellow, and purple; many varieties have a complex flower color.
Asters are light-loving and cold-resistant plants, they tolerate slight frosts, usually not exceeding three degrees below zero, and bloom within 3-4 months after sowing. The flowering of plants of different varieties varies in terms of time and can be from 40 to 50 days.
Growing and caring for asters
Asters are propagated exclusively by seeds. Under normal storage conditions, the seeds retain their germination for two years, and on the third, the germination of seeds and their germination energy sharply deteriorate until they are completely lost.
Asters are relatively undemanding to soils, but still grow better on light to medium loamy soils. They can be grown by sowing seeds in open ground in spring or late autumn on frozen soil, or by seedling. For growing seedlings, seeds are sown in the second half of March - early April in boxes.
The soil mixture for sowing asters should be fresh, not previously used for growing other plants, not rich in humus, light in texture, with a high content of sand, which allows water to pass through well. To prepare such a soil mixture, you need to take three parts of sod land, two parts of peat, one part of river sand and two tablespoons of wood ash in a bucket of prepared soil mixture.
Everything must be thoroughly mixed and poured into a box. Calcined river sand is poured on top with a layer of one centimeter. Then the soil is watered a little and the seeds are sown, and on top they are covered with the same sand with a layer of five centimeters. Until the first shoots appear, the temperature is maintained at + 18 … + 20 ° С. Usually shoots appear on the 5-7th day.
The seedlings themselves are grown at a temperature of + 13 … + 15 ° C, crops are watered very rarely, especially if the soil is very dry. After watering, the seedlings must be ventilated. At the beginning of May, a small top dressing is needed: one teaspoon of Agricola-7 and nitrophoska are diluted in two liters of water. Seedlings should be planted in the third decade of May, protecting them with covering material until June 10. Some gardeners dive seedlings of asters in the phase of the first true leaf. The seedlings are buried to the cotyledonous leaf. Seedlings are planted in pots or at a distance of 7 centimeters between plants in boxes that are pre-filled with earth.
If any of the gardeners decided to sow asters in the spring, then the bed must be prepared in advance, in the fall. Sow seeds immediately to a permanent place in open ground. They are sown in spring, in late April or early May, depending on the condition of the soil and air temperature. The crops are covered with a double layer of covering material, the material is opened only for hardening plants - usually on warm and calm days, when the air temperature is not lower than seven degrees Celsius, and this shelter is completely removed only in May.
The most simplified and practiced by flower growers method of sowing asters is before winter, in October. While the ground is still thawed, they make a small bed, dig it up, add up to three kilograms of humus or peat per square meter, as well as a tablespoon of superphosphate and potassium sulfate. The bed is leveled, tamped and a groove up to two centimeters deep is made across it, the bed is covered in one layer with a covering material and left until November.
As soon as the soil freezes a little, cover material is opened and dry seeds of annual asters are sown into the frozen grooves. From above, the seeds are sprinkled with dry earth with a layer of up to two centimeters. Then they cover the bed with plastic wrap (it should be tightly laid on the bed, and press it with slats from the sides - this will save from sudden gusts of wind) and leave until spring.
At the end of April, the plastic wrap is removed and covered with covering material until the last spring frost (usually mid-June). With this method of growing, asters grow strong, disease resistant, and, very importantly, bloom much earlier than grown seedlings. Growing aster seedlings at home is very, very troublesome. Even from a slight excess of moisture, plants can die, the same situation is with a lack of moisture.
A site for planting or for sowing asters must also be prepared in advance. It is advisable to choose the place that is driest and always sunny. For digging on the site, it is imperative to add 3-5 kilograms of humus, peat and river sand, as well as one tablespoon of superphosphate, potassium sulfate and urea, as well as 300 grams of wood ash or slightly more than 200 grams of dolomite flour (this is all for one square meter of the ridge).
They dig the earth to a depth of 25-30 centimeters. If no fertilizer is applied for digging, then before planting seedlings or before sowing seeds (in holes or grooves), it is necessary to add a ready-made soil-flower mixture (preferably with a neutral reaction) in the form of living earth - "Saintpaulia"; suitable for these purposes and ready-made soil "Cactus" is a widespread mixture intended for cacti, it consists of a mixture of soil and sand.
During the period of growth and flowering, asters in the open field must be fed. The first feeding is carried out even before budding: in ten liters of ordinary water, dilute one tablespoon of organic fertilizer such as "Flower" and "Agricola 7". The usual consumption rate is about three to four liters per square meter.
The second feeding is carried out during budding and the appearance of the first flowers: in ten liters of water, dilute one tablespoon of fertilizers "Agricola for flowering plants" and potassium sulfate. Solution consumption - 3-4 liters per square meter.
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Diseases and pests of asters
Most often, one-year-old aster is struck by a disease such as fusarium wilting. Prevention here can be liming of the soil, the purpose of which is to lower the acid reaction of the soil to neutral. Increases the resistance of asters to fusarium and fertilizing plants with microelements, spraying also has a positive effect in the fight against fusarium.
Asters also affect brown rot of roots and root collars, late blight or rot of the stem base, spot and rust of leaves. Against these fungal diseases, spraying is carried out with the preparation "Khom", ordinary copper oxychloride - 50 grams per ten liters of water, or with the drug "Topaz" - 4 ml per ten liters of water.
Aster pests are various types of aphids, spider mites and onion bugs, as well as slugs. Measures to combat them are as follows: one tablet of Iskra is diluted into ten liters of water. Against slugs, the drug metaldehyde is diluted - 30 grams per ten square meters. To prevent pests from accumulating, asters cannot be grown in one place for several years in a row. It is recommended to plant them in their original place no earlier than after five years.
Varieties of annual asters
As for the varieties, the most famous of them are as follows:
Claw aster - Golden
Very suitable for creating bouquets. The plant itself has a pyramidal shape. Inflorescences are round-flat, terry, up to ten centimeters in diameter. The ligulate flowers are folded into tubes along the length, slightly curved inward, they are golden yellow in color, covering the disc of yellow tubular flowers. This variety is used for planting in prefabricated flower gardens in groups, on beds - in rows. Plant height 70-75 centimeters. Blooms in July - August.
Claw aster - Karteyzer
A completely new flower shape. The plant is pyramidal. Peduncles are strong, reaching lengths of fifty centimeters. Inflorescences are round-flat, terry, up to ten centimeters in diameter. The flowers are ligulate, dark blue in color, folded lengthwise into tubes, slightly bent inward, covering the disc of yellow tubular flowers. These asters are used very widely: for planting in prefabricated flower beds in groups, on beds - in rows and for cutting. Plants are 70-75 centimeters high. Blooms from July to September.
Pion-shaped aster - Violet Tower
A very popular variety, characterized by purple inflorescences. The plant is columnar in shape, with 9-12 double, hemispherical inflorescences, consisting of wide ligulate flowers directed upwards and curved inward. They adhere tightly to each other and cover the disc of small yellow tubular flowers. Aster is used for planting in prefabricated flower beds in groups, on beds - in rows. At a temperature of + 18 ° C, the time from sowing to germination is 8-14 days. Plant height reaches 60 centimeters. This aster blooms from July to September.
Aster pion-shaped - Pink tower
Magnificent bouquet of inflorescences. Columnar plant. Inflorescences are pink, hemispherical, densely doubled, with a diameter of 7-8 centimeters. The ligulate flowers are tightly pressed against each other and bent in the middle. This variety is used very widely both for planting in prefabricated flower gardens in groups, and on beds - in rows for cutting. Plant height does not exceed 50 centimeters. Flowering lasts from August to September.
Artistic aster - Memory
Magnificent cut-off variety of rare color. The bush is compact, columnar. Inflorescences are densely double, up to 14 centimeters in diameter, delicate lemon-yellow color. Up to ten inflorescences bloom at the same time! The decorative effect is created by narrow ligulate flowers rolled into a tube. This aster is used very widely: for planting in prefabricated flower beds in groups, on beds - in rows for cutting. At a temperature of + 15 ° C, the time from sowing to germination does not exceed 14 days, at temperatures above twenty degrees - usually 7-8 days. The height of plants of this variety does not exceed 65 centimeters. It usually blooms from August to September.
Astra Bolero red
Wonderful double flowers. The plant is compact, strongly branched with strong stems. Inflorescences are hemispherical, double, red. The center is filled with long, tubular flowers, very densely gathered and colored in the same way as ligulate flowers. Plants of this variety are used very widely: for planting in prefabricated flower gardens in groups, on beds in rows and for cutting. As with the previous variety, the time from sowing to germination at a temperature exceeding or equal to 18 ° C is 7-14 days. Plant height is standard for this group of varieties and is 60-65 centimeters. Blooms from August to September.
For lovers of bouquets, I will give one hint: aster inflorescences do not bloom, like most flowers, in water, so they must be cut off in the morning and fully blossomed, so they will stand in a vase for a long time without losing their freshness.
To prolong the pleasure of contemplating fresh flowers, before placing them in water, it is necessary to cut the stem and remove the lower leaves from it.
Asters can stand in water for up to three weeks if the water is changed at least every two days.
Also read: How to choose varieties and grow colorful asters in the garden