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Growing Annual Asters

Growing Annual Asters

Seastar Mix Aster



Annual asters, also called China asters, are easy-to-grow flowering annuals commonly used as cut flowers. The most commonly grown varieties have "puffy", pom-pom like double flowers in a range of shades. They are suitable for full sun to partly shaded locations.

How to Plant

China asters can be directly sown in the garden after the last spring frost or started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before outdoor planting time. Plant seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and expect germination in 10 to 14 days. When germinating indoors, keep the trays at 65 to 70 degrees for best germination.

Harden off seedlings and plant them in the garden after the last frost in spring. Space plants 6 to 12 inches apart.

Plant China asters in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. When using plants for cut flowers, additional sowings or transplantings can be made every two weeks to ensure a steady supply of flowers.


During hot summer weather, flowering will be reduced, but will usually resume when weather cools.

When harvesting for cut flower use, cut stems early in the day when weather is cool when the outermost ray of petals begin to open. China asters have about a 2 week vase life.

Fertilizer Recommendations

China asters are moderate feeders that benefit from regular fertilization. Use full rates of ALGOplus Flowering Plant 4-6-7 or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Common Problems

China asters usually don't have serious pest or disease problems. Leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, and thrips sometimes attack plants. Fusarium and aster yellows are occasional problems. Aster yellows is a bacterial disease spread by leafhoppers, so good control of leafhoppers is critical in areas where the disease is common. An insecticide like Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew will control insect pests. Avoid planting in heavy clay soils with poor drainage to prevent Fusarium problems.

Alternative Products

Other annual flowers commonly used for cut flowers are celosia, cosmos, and larkspur.

Complimentary Products

Other annuals commonly used in cottage garden settings include sweet pea and cleome.

Product Recommendations

Floating row covers can be used early in the season, before plants bloom, to protect them from leafhoppers and other insects. Grow Through Plant Supports can help to keep plants from lodging due to wind or rain.

Annual Aster Facts

China asters belong to the genus Callistephus, which is derived from Greek words for "beautiful" and "crown" in reference to the showy flowers. They are native to China.


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