Astra autumn: description, planting and care
As after a long and cold winter, we alllook forward to the appearance of the very first gentle flowers, and in the autumn, when nature fades, we admire the flares of perennial autumn plants. All those who are fond of growing flowers in the garden, will sooner or later become acquainted with the true queen of the autumn garden - astra.
These spectacular bright perennials delighta diverse palette of shades. Planting and caring for these plants is not very difficult. In this article we will tell you about popular varieties of asters, peculiarities of their planting and growing.
Aster: description of the plant
This is a perennial shrub of the familyCompositae or astroids. Do not confuse it with annual asters, which are often called callistiefuses. In natural conditions, a perennial autumn aster occurs all over the world: it grows in Asia and Europe, America and North Africa. Cultivate this plant began in the late XVI century. The name of the flower is translated from Greek as "star". As the legend says, the aster appeared on Earth from the fallen star dust. The Greeks were sure that this flower brings good luck, he was their amulet.
Astra autumn belongs to perennial andannual plants. In the world there are, according to various sources, from 200 to 500 of its varieties. Their overwhelming number grows on the territory of North and Central America.
The plant has simple leaves and inflorescences-baskets, collected in shields or panicles. Depending on the variety, they differ:
- height of the bush;
- form of leaves.
Most often, the autumn aster has needle flowers. In central Russia and northern regions, annual varieties are grown. In the south, perennials prefer. All species are distinguished by long and beautiful flowering, excellent resistance to negative climatic conditions. These are light-loving and drought-resistant plants.
Among the late flowering autumn asters includea few popular varieties - New Belgian, New England and shrubby. Novelbogiyskie asters grow up to one and a half meters. Bushes have many branches, densely covered with leaves. At the same time, there are stems with practically no deciduous mass. The colors of this group are dominated by lilac-lilac shades, sometimes pink and red. A very impressive bouquet of asters of this species.
This variety blooms almost a month in semi-double-mahogany colors. On one stem, up to six flowers with ligulate petals are formed.
Another amazing sort of asters. A bouquet of them looks delicious. In addition, this variety is often used for planting in flower arrangements. Bushes bloom very luxuriantly, that's why they are often used for single planting. Flowers are not large, bright pink.
Bushes grow up to one and a half meters. Lush blue inflorescences four centimeters in diameter delight the look for almost a month.
Perennial cluster aster
The plant is compact, butdense flowering bushes. They do not grow to a height of more than fifty centimeters. Blossoms this variety in early September and pleases with its beauty before the onset of the first frost. Flowers have a white or light lilac color.
Another low-growing bush autumn aster,which can even be called dwarfish, since the height of the plant does not exceed 25 cm. The variety is ideal for creating a composition of stunted plants as a basic element or as a curb. Color is sky-blue or in lilac tones.
The same applies to dwarf varieties, the height of abouttwenty centimeters. It is used as a hanging option for framing flowerbeds. Blooms one of the last, later other varieties. Lilac-pink flowers please for a month starting in September.
New England asters differ in several basic characteristics:
- thick shoots;
- powerful bushes with straight and high stems.
The bush height up to a meter blooms in September. Beautiful lush inflorescences gather in brushes of violet-lilac color. Flowers are equally good as in bouquets, and on beds. It is often used as a hedge.
High autumn flowers. Asters of this variety grow up to one and a half meters. This magnificent plant blooms with red and purple flowers 4 cm in diameter for a month.
An amazing variety of autumn perennial asters with rather large colors of carmine shade. The height of the bush reaches one and a half meters.
Preparing an aster for planting: choosing a place
We briefly described the popular varieties of autumn asters,now it's time to get acquainted with the conditions of planting. To obtain a beautifully flowering plant, it is necessary to choose the right place for planting and prepare the necessary soil.
To grow autumn perennial asters it is possible inAny place, but if you want to get lush bushes and achieve active flowering, you need to choose the most suitable place on the site. Astra feels great in open, well-lit areas. Sunlight contributes to the development and growth of the entire bush, not just foliage and stems.
It should not be forgotten that in most casesthe choice of a site for planting depends on the variety and type of asters. If you decide to plant several varieties, choose them in height. Thus, when the earlier varieties will bloom, they will not close the later ones. For framing tracks fit dwarf or dwarf, and tall look good along the fence.
Astram needs a medium-heavy, loose, water-permeable loamy soil. During the whole season it is necessary to make mineral and complex fertilizers.
Before planting, prepare the soil: dig it up, apply mineral and organic fertilizers.
When to plant asters?
Planting, reproduction and transplantation of asters of perennialis produced in spring and autumn. Planting material is preferably purchased in specialized stores or nurseries. Plants can be planted with seeds, seedlings or cuttings and dividing the bush, if you already have at least one plant on the site.
Planting Asters with Seeds
This method of growing asters is suitable only forAlpine variety, in the case of the others, it is ineffective. This is due to a weak seedling, which does not take root well. Sow the seeds of a perennial asters in the fall, just after they are collected. But the alpine aster for sowing is more suitable for spring, when the soil warms up well. With the onset of stable heat, the first shoots appear, and in autumn young plants are transplanted to a permanent place.
When the first shoots are planted, the plant requires abundant watering, loosening and top dressing. In one place a perennial aster should grow no more than five years, after that it is transplanted.
This is the most popular and widespread methodplanting, and reproduction of asters. Preparation for it begins in the spring, when young shoots only appear. Cut off the tips of the shoots about 15 centimeters long so that the bottom cut is inclined. The lower leaves are completely removed, leaving only two or three of the upper leaves.
Before planting in the ground cuttings should be held ingrowth stimulant, according to the instructions. Then put them in the soil (under a slope!) In a special shelter with a film. This is suitable for partial shade. Rooting, as a rule, occurs within a month. The ideal soil mixture in this case is peat, sand and turf. Substrate experienced flower growers are recommended to process potassium permanganate. In this position cuttings are left until the next spring for rooting, and then transplanted to a permanent place.
Division of the bush
This method is suitable when you need to transplantadult bush to a new place. As we have said, this must be done in five years. When to plant asters in this case? This can be done both in spring and in autumn. Early varieties are more suitable for autumn, and late for spring.
When dividing a bush, it must be excavated and removed from the roots of the whole earth. Only after this, the parts with young shoots and roots are separated by a sharp and disinfected secateurs.
Features of care
Despite the fact that the autumn aster is consideredunpretentious plant, certain rules for its care should still be followed. Only in this case you will achieve a long and active flowering.
It is carried out constantly, and in a dry time the volume of water must be increased considerably. This is especially important when the green mass is growing.
Mulching and loosening
We already talked about the fact that asters needlight and breathable soil. That is why loosening and removal of weeds during the season is necessary for the plant. This process can be minimized using mulch. This is suitable for peat, sawdust or bark. This will help keep moisture in the soil, will not allow it to dry out and, very importantly, slow down the growth of weed plants.
This is a mandatory procedure, because aster likesoils are nutritious, enriched with organic and mineral fertilizers. During vegetation it is important to feed the plant with humus and phosphorus fertilizers. This will support the bushes, fill them with strength before flowering.
Pruning and gartering
Depending on the variety and type of autumn asterneed and additional care. Shrub and short compact varieties need pruning to form a beautiful crown. If flowers are planted along the paths, then with the help of pruning it will be possible to create an ideal hedge.
Tall shrubs need support, as they can grow up to two meters in height. Typically, use long strong pegs, or the plant is planted along the fence.
Preparation for winter
A perennial astra is an unpretentious plant,which is not afraid of winter cold. But before winter bushes should be cut off at the root and cover the soil with compost and dry fallen leaves. Especially important is the care for young plants.