06 January 2014

Callistephus chinensis is Aster Andrella Giant Mix or China Asters

In all the zones from 2 to 11, China Asters add a cheerful face to the early summer garden. Maxing out at 2 or 3 feet tall with strong stems for cutting bouquets, these beauties can be started from seed and bloom the same year. their flower colors include: White, pink, purple, blue, yellow and violet.

Aster Andrella Giant Ray
They are easy to grow and prefer well drained beds that are watered regularly. In our heat they will need afternoon shade.

The seeds are started indoors 8 weeks before the last average frost date. Since our last average freeze is April 15th here, they would be started mid-February.

Just press the seed into the pre-moistened planting soil, do not bury the seed or cover it.

Seed germination can be slow and or spotty so buy plenty of seed and start early enough. They like 70 degrees to germinate so if your seed starting area is really cold, you'll have to add a little bottom heat to get them going.

Since our heat can be brutal pretty early in the summer, starting them outdoors after mid-April might not give them much time to grow and set buds. However, you could direct sow a second planting then and hope that summer is gentle.

They like air circulation, so when setting the seedlings leave at least a foot and a half between the plants and stagger them a little so they aren't all in a row.

As the flowers mature, deadhead them for a second flush of flowers. They may re-seed so look for their return next year.
Aster Andrella Single
You can choose the Crego Mix or the equally beautiful Giant Ray Mix  pictured above, but I prefer the singles for the garden and for cut arrangements.

As their name implies, they are originally from China, a member of the daisy plant family.  

Not favored by deer or rabbits.

Check at your favorite seed vendor or garden center - there are
so many cheerful varieties and mixes that you'll find it difficult to choose just one.

1 comment:

Martha Stoodley said...

My Aster Andrella Giant seeds are up, have true leaves and have been re-potted into their own individual containers.