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December 27th 2018

The Amazing World of China Asters

Written by
Floret

I still can’t believe that for as many years I have been growing flowers that I have most recently come to discover the amazing world of China asters. Back in the day, when we were growing for grocery store sales, the only varieties on the market were run of the mill Matsumoto and spray types. There was nothing beautiful or exciting about them, so I rarely included them in the garden. But a few years ago, I stumbled on a German grower offering the most incredible range of varieties that I had never seen before.

China asters from FloretLast summer we grew over 40 varieties and this summer grew 40 more and I am now a passionate champion for China asters. What makes these plants so great is that they can be grown from seed, are easy to grow and flower at a time when the garden is starting to fade. As the day length shortens, this group of plants is prompted to begin flowering.

In addition to lasting an incredibly long time in the vase, China asters come in a dazzling rainbow of colors and a wide range of flower shapes and sizes, including huge feathered blossoms, sturdy sprays of miniature buttons, tight domed flower heads and soft rose-like blooms.

Trialing China asters at FloretRainbow of China asters from FloretChina asters are typically sown 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost and transplanted out after the weather has sufficiently warmed. Like other cold sensitive plants, such a zinnias, basil and celosia, it’s important to wait to tuck these into the garden until all danger of frost has passed.

China aster trial at FloretWe grow our China asters in landscape fabric and space plants 9 inches apart with 5 rows per bed. Once blooms appear, plants tend to topple over under the weight of the flower display, so be sure to give these guys plenty of support while the plants are still small.

China aster trial at FloretChina aster at FloretWe use a layer of Hortonova netting stretched horizontally about 12 inches above the ground. Netting is held by in place by metal hoops that we made with our Johnny’s Quick Hoops Bender. Any type of stake, wooden or metal, will work just fine. As the plants grow, they push up through the grid of netting and get the support they need.

China aster seed trial at FloretChina aster flower seed trial at FloretAfter plants are tucked into the ground they just hang out for the better part of summer and are pretty boring in the landscape. I’ve found myself fretting over them, wondering if they are going to do anything. But as summer comes to a close, they start making buds and elongating in the waning light.

As the rest of the garden starts to wind down and fall apart, China asters come into their prime and along with dahlias, helping finish the flower season strong. They are a must grow for late summer and early autumn bouquets.

China aster flower seed trial at Floretharvesting china aster flowers at FloretHarvest flowers when they are about half way open and strip the foliage off the lower half of the stems and place them into water with flower food. A vase life of 7-10+ days can be expected.

China asters are sensitive to wet weather and the petals will brown if not harvested on time. So be sure to pick them regularly for the best looking blooms.

China aster flower seed trial at FloretAll in all, we’ve grown close to 80 different mixes and individual varieties.

Over in the Floret Shop you will find my absolute favorites. Peach and blush have become extremely popular colors with floral designers and brides. So if you have weddings in your future, you might want to consider the following varieties:

China aster flower seed trial at FloretHarlekin Light Rose: This tall, feminine beauty is smothered in an abundance of the sweetest soft, nearly ballerina-pink blooms. Disc-shaped blooms have a fluffy appearance from the hundreds of quilled, tubular petals covering them.

Rose Quartz Mix: This feminine mix features warm pink tones, including dusty rose, blush and ballet slipper pink. Delicate ruffled blooms look like pretty soft pillows.

Valkyrie Pink: Palm-sized blooms on this mauve-pink beauty are reminiscent of the color of sea anemones. Buds are lighter than the mature flowers, giving plants a wonderful color range. Long, pointed flower petals resemble rosy cactus flowers, and as blooms are opening, the center petals are swirled.

Lady Coral ChamoisChina aster flower seed trial at Floret: With the softest peachy-blush blooms, this romantic beauty has a glowing quality. Each plant is smothered in at least a dozen stems topped with ruffled, feminine flowers.

Tower Chamois Apricot: One of the most beautiful and well loved asters, Chamois Apricot is a must grow. Each vigorous plant is loaded with dozens of glowing peachy-pink blooms that are perfect for flower arranging and wedding work.

Valkyrie Chamois: Palm-sized blooms on this striking variety are stunning. Long, pointed flower petals resemble bird feathers, and as blooms are opening, the center petals are swirled.

China aster flower seed trial at FloretIf you’re looking for some beautiful, hardworking additions to the late summer cutting garden, look no further. China asters shine when the rest of the garden starts to fade, rewarding you with a bumper crop of glowing, textural blooms.

To see our full list of favorites, visit the Floret Shop.

It took a lot of time and energy to create this post and I would really appreciate it if you would please take a minute and leave a comment. Even a few words would be great!

If you submit a comment and it doesn’t show up right away, sit tight, we have a spam filter that requires we approve most comments before they are published.

Lastly, if you feel like this information is helpful, I would love it if you would share it with your friends.

Don’t miss these other new posts about our 2018 flower trials:

Old Fashioned Carnations for Cutting

Pansies and Violas for Cut Flowers

Trial Results and New Variety Preview

14 Comments

  1. Matthew on

    Thanks for sharing your findings and taking clear pictures. I love learning about different varieties, but most places don’t have the best pictures, so I don’t know what I’m buying. Not the case for Floret! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. Jessica on

    Loved this post ! Gives me so many ideas! I also appreciated how much detail you included such as where to get the netting etc. :)

    Reply
  3. Jackie DeMerlis on

    Thank you for sharing about these beauties and how to start growing them successfully. You are so generous with your knowledge, Erin. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Sharon on

    I really enjoy your posts! Your give a vivid description which helps me to decide what plants might work well for me. Your pictures are so inviting ;)
    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Carolyn Radakovich on

    Thoughts on earwig damage? I sent my mom (in Idaho) Floret aster seeds last year but the earwigs were relentless! Any tips would be appreciated :)

    Reply
  6. Tari on

    These are beautiful! I will have to give them a try. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    Reply
  7. Noelle on

    Thanks so much for this post! I’ve seen the asters on one of my favorite seed supplier’s site but have hesitated as information is thin on the ground about them. I grow an aster that is native to my region. It flowers well but the foliage goes brown and isn’t too pretty. I think I’m going to give the chamois ones a try this year, especially as I have a late summer wedding with a bride who doesn’t like dahlias. This could be a great solution for her. Thanks Erin!

    Reply
  8. Anna on

    I tried the tower chamois series this year and was sorely disappointed. They were literally five inches tall haha! But I think I planted them at the wrong time. You’re making me want to try again!

    Reply
  9. Denise on

    I’m going to grow these next summer and haven’t grown them before. It will be such a help to have this blog to refer back to-thank you! Now to decide which colors!

    Reply
  10. Heidi on

    I remember buying these at little farmers markets when I lived in Europe for a couple years. I loved them.

    Reply
  11. Lisa U. on

    These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing so much knowledge!

    Reply
  12. Dale Rekus on

    Simply amazing! I remember my grandmothers growing these in their garden decades ago but they never looked like these varieties. One more reason I won’t pine for the good old days! Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  13. Alexis on

    This will be my first season for China Asters and I can’t wait :) It’s wonderful to learn more about them and I can’t wait to try some of your recommendations! A big thank you to the entire Floret team for all of the new information, these are some of my favorite posts.

    Reply
  14. Paula on

    Thank you so much Erin and all at Floret for all you do to make the cut flower garden decision-making easy for us! Your info is invaluable! I pretty much stick to your advice in all the decisions I make! Thank you again!

    Reply

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