|CALLISTEPHUS chinensis - Aster, China Aster|
Asteraceae; native to China.
Germination: Sow outdoors after all danger of frost is past, or sow indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outside. Sow indoors in fall and winter for greenhouse flowers in late winter and spring. Cover the seed with 4 times their thickness in soil and maintain a temperature within the medium of 70° F during germination which takes 10-14 days. Blooms appear 3-4 months from sowing.
Growth: In spring after danger of frost is past, space 6-15 inches apart in full sun in a rich, well-drained soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and feed the plants moderately but keep the nitrogen levels low to deter disease. For more continuous bloom, plant in succession at 2 week intervals, as Asters stop blooming after they are cut. In the greenhouse, grow on with cool (60° F) nights in full sun with a rich, porous soil kept evenly moist. Mulch Asters in summer to keep the soil moist and to protect their roots from drying out. Many of the newer varieties are resistant to wilt.
Appearance and Use: Single or double blooms, ideal for cutting, are borne on this annual for borders, beds, or greenhouse growth. Dwarf varieties make excellent container plants. Single or double-flowering annuals are 6-36 inches tall and 6-18 inches wide, with blooms of blue, white, lavender, purple, yellow, pink, or red on long cutting stems over basal foliage. The flowers, borne midsummer to frost, have a wide range of size, shape and color including daisy, pompom, chrysanthemum, and shaggy. Dark green foliage, 3 inches in length, is oval-shaped and coarsely toothed.
NASA Seeds in Space
"Snowy, Flowy, Blowy, Showery, Flowery, Bowery, Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy, Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy."