The bushy aster quickly form dense carpets and with their abundant floral display they add color to our gardens. This is what matters when planting and caring for.
Profile of bushy aster:
Scientific name: Aster dumosus
Plant family: aster or daisy family (Asteraceae)
Other names: rice button aster
Sowing time: early spring in a box
Planting time: spring to autumn
Flowering period: August to October
Soil quality: loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flowerbeds, bouquets, embankments, borders, grave planting, group planting, planters, cottage garden, flower garden, natural garden, prairie garden, potted garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-37 °C / -35 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of bushy aster
Plant order, origin and occurrence of bushy aster
The bushy aster(Aster dumosus) comes originally from North America and belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae). The name Aster dumosus hybrids would be botanically more correct, as the perennials that are common in our gardens are the result of cultivations between the North American Aster dumosus and Aster novi-belgii. They have little in common with the actual Aster dumosus. English botanists therefore even assign them completely to the New York aster (Aster novi-belgii).
The low, often spherical bushy asters are a pretty sight in the garden all year round and bloom profusely in numerous colors from summer to late autumn. They are also very robust and easy to care for. Butterflies, bees and other insects also enjoy the perennial. So it’s no wonder that they are so widespread in gardens and beds.
Characteristics of bushy aster
The bushy aster grows upright and quickly forms closed, pillow-like flower carpets. Their height is between 15 and 50 centimeters (6 and 20 in) . The rhizome spreads crawling.
The leaves are linear-lanceolate and about 5 to 15 centimeters (2 to 6 in) long. They are entire and green.
The flowering time of the bushy aster lasts from August until well into October. The color spectrum of the flowers includes all shades of violet and blue and extends to delicate pink and strong purple. There is usually a yellow disc in the middle. The flower heads reach a diameter of about 5 centimeters (2 in).
Bushy aster – cultivation and care
As a location, the bushy aster prefers a consistently sunny spot in the garden. Their beautiful colors also come into their own here.
The bushy aster thrives best in humus and nutrient-rich, loamy-fresh soil. Be careful not to plant them in low ground, as this is where the water accumulates and the bushy aster should be moist, but never wet.
Planting bushy aster
For the desired carpet-like growth, you should plan about three to four plants per square meter, since the optimal planting distance is about 50 centimeters (20 in). Whether you want to plant different colors together or create a uniformly colored bed is entirely up to your taste. Regarding the planting date, you can plant bushy asters all year round, provided the weather is mild and the ground is not frozen. This is possible because the perennials are mostly sold in containers or pots. It is best to put the plants in the ground in late spring or in early autumn.
The planting depth should be roughly the same as the pot depth, because the plants must not be placed deeper in the garden soil than they were previously in the planter. Enrich the excavation with ripe compost and generously cover the planting area with bark mulch. This not only provides additional nutrients through the rotting process, but also prevents the soil from drying out quickly on hot days. Don’t forget to water the bushy asters vigorously after planting them.
You do not have to buy bushy asters as ready-made plants; you can grow them yourself from seeds. You should sow the fine seeds in early spring in a bowl filled with potting soil or in small pots. Keep them warm and light at around 18 to 21 ° C / 64 to 70 ° F and keep the substrate slightly moist. Since high humidity promotes germination, stretch a translucent film or something similar over the cultivation container. The seeds germinate after about two to three weeks and then develop very quickly into strong young plants. However, these should only be placed in the bed after the late frosts, as they are still quite sensitive.
Bushy asters like it slightly damp, but not wet. You should therefore ensure an adequate supply of water, especially on dry soils and in hot weather. The soil should not dry out, but waterlogging should not form either. Always water directly on the ground, never from above and over the leaves, this promotes the development of powdery mildew, a fungal disease typical of asters.
Fertilize the bushy asters twice a year with ripe compost and horn shavings. The first time you should provide the plants with budding in spring, the second time after flowering. Alternatively, you can also use a complete fertilizer for flowering plants for garden plants, potted plants cannot be supplied organically with nutrients anyway because of the lack of microorganisms in the soil.
In order for bushy asters to bloom profusely for a long time, you have to prune them regularly, as perennials also tend to age. To do this, regularly remove dead plant parts and withered shoots, and cut back the plants completely before the first frost. Alternatively, pruning is also possible in spring, which has the advantage of better winter hardiness: bushy asters that are not pruned in autumn usually tolerate freezing temperatures better.
Every two to three years you should dig up and divide the bushy asters. This promotes dense and bushy growth, as the perennials only sporadically develop new shoots after a while. Otherwise, you don’t have to worry too much about propagating it, because the bushy aster itself provides for abundant offspring with numerous root suckers. It is best to divide in spring or early autumn. The plants are then to be moved to a new location separately.
Diseases and pests
Basically, bushy asters are quite insensitive to pests and diseases. In too wet and / or too dark locations, however, fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and aster wilt occur more frequently. With both diseases, you should remove infected parts of the plant and dispose of them with household waste. In addition, watering and spraying with a broth made of field horsetail, that you can prepare yourself, helps to prevent fungal diseases or to suppress them in their early stages. On the other hand, if the plants can no longer be saved, you should no longer plant bushy asters at this location.
Basically, bushy asters are hardy down to -37 °C / -35 °F, but you should cover especially young, still sensitive plants with a layer of bark mulch or with spruce or fir branches over the cold season. This also applies to specimens cut back in autumn. Remove the cover in good time in spring so that the plants can sprout again.
Use in the garden
Bushy asters are mainly used in beds or as borders. But they are also used for classic grave planting. To achieve the typical carpet-like effect, you should plant at least three to five specimens next to each other. The vigorous perennial can also be combined very nicely with tall wild chrysanthemum or placed next to Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima) or switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).
The genus of the asters comprises around 150 different species, which are mainly found in Europe and Asia. The bushy aster, also known as rice button aster, which is very popular in many ornamental gardens due to its vigor and numerous flowers, impresses with its immense varieties.
- ‘Apollo’: Growth height of up to 40 centimeters, initially white, pink flowers when they fade
- ‘Eye candy’: Growth height up to 30 centimeters, dark purple flowers, very vigorous and persistent hybrid form
- ‘Blue Lagoon’: Growth height up to 50 centimeters, dark violet-blue flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Garnet’: Growth height up to 30 centimeters, pink-red flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Autumn greeting from Bresserhof’: up to 50 centimeters in height, pink-white flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Jenny’: Growth height up to 50 centimeters, strong purple flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Kristina’: Up to 30 centimeters in height, pure white flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Mediterranean’: Height up to 40 centimeters, strong blue to blue-violet flowers
- ‘Nesthäkchen’: low growth, carmine-red flowers
- ‘Peter Harrison’: Growth height up to 40 centimeters, strong pink flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Prof. Anton Kippenberg ’: Height up to 40 centimeters, blue-violet flowers
- ‘Sapphire’: Growth height up to 40 centimeters, violet-blue flowers with a yellow center
- ‘Snow pillow’: up to 30 centimeters in height, white flowers
- ‘Starlight’: Growth height up to 40 centimeters, purple-pink flowers with a yellow center