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December 28th 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.China aster flower seed trial at Floret

Lady Coral Chamois: 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

36 Comments

  1. Kate G on

    I have grown asters for the first time this season, and our wedding florists in Wanaka (New Zealand) were really happy with them. Thanks for this post to inspire me to try and find some of the varieties you mention. Blush and pinks are very popular here!

    Reply
  2. Chelsea on

    Last year was our first with a yard and garden, I jumped in with two feet and failed a fair amount, but learned a lot! One thing I learned is that Asters are, just as you said, a wonderful thing to have taken the time to sow when the rest of the garden is fading. We had bright pink blooms smack dab in the middle of our front yard, what a delight! I’ll be doing those again, and I’m ordering a couple of new varieties from your shop to throw into the mix as well. I’m especially excited for your purple varieties. Thank you for the work you put into these resource posts, I’ve learned quite a lot from them and I’m sure my flower garden will benefit this year!

    Reply
  3. Lauren M on

    I am going to plant my aster seedling in the ground soon! Thank you so much for all of your helpful tips and information.

    Reply
  4. Kirstin Medaglia on

    Can’t wait to give these a shot this year, what a gorgeous color selection!

    Reply
  5. The Lauren Jean on

    I’ve planted two different types, and the full packet, and only 1 plant has sprouted. Are there any tips? Because I would love to have some of these blooming in fall, but I don’t want to purchase more if I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong!

    Reply
  6. Nancy Tucker on

    I tried growing these last summer, and for some reason, they all died all at the same time. One day they looked perfect, and the next day, wilted and fallen over. This was at our community garden, which is an organic garden. I don’t know if they got some type of wilt, or what. No pests were visible. The soil is all organic potting soil (lots and lots of bags), so if you have any clues on to what could have gotten to them, it would be greatly appreciated. I am going to give them another go this year, and fingers crossed!

    Reply
  7. Bonnie on

    A late summer favorite but did not realize the color palette available! Stunning!

    Reply
  8. Arlene Collins on

    Just stunning flowers, they are the flower of September my birth month. Will have to include them in my garden this year..

    Reply
  9. Aubrey on

    Thank you! Every year I add a few new flower varieties to my tiny backyard garden and this years I’m excited to try the chamois series asters. I still turn to your book and blog each spring as I prepare my beds, start my seeds and plan my garden.

    Reply
  10. Margaret Gino on

    Although we are tiny …. we are a mighty bunch. On our small plot of land we call “Little West” … there is so much optimism.. arm loads of courage and and an overflowing sense of peace thanks to you Erin and Team Floret. The knowledge and skills learned throughout the 6 week course combined with your beautiful book provide a solid framework for flower farming success! What a gift! I have purchased all my seeds from Floret this year including the China Aster Tower Chamios Apricot… Please know you are making a difference all across the globe as you share your passion and love of flowers. As my china asters, sweet peas, chocolate lace flower and “Queen”zinnia’s to name a few bloom bright…… I will be thinking of you and the investment you made in little ole me! ;) eternally grateful indeed.

    Reply
  11. Olivia on

    So excited to have found you! Your writing is lovely, and I’m thankful for all the wonderful resources provided. Decided to buy all my annual seeds from you guys this year – so eager for spring weather!

    Reply
  12. Sarah Sprague on

    Erin, I have recently flung my entire being into the process of turning my little family’s first home into a flower farm. In my rigorous pursuit of knowledge and guidance on this new adventure, I found Floret and though I live on the opposite side of the country in a very different climate, I have found so much wisdom, confidence and at times solace in the information you provide in posts and your book. Your willingness to share experiences and knowledge of flower farms is both humbling and inspiring. I hope you know the positive influence you impress upon families like mine with our dreams of flower fields. That being said, I will be sure to grow China Asters for my wedding this autumn! Thank you!!

    Reply
  13. Sarah on

    I have a small garden in the Ozarks, and I love to enter the County Fair. Usually, by the time of the fair in late August, my zinnias are down to the dregs. This is great advice! I’m going to give China Asters a shot this year – wish me luck!

    Reply
  14. Judy on

    Erin, I appreciate the wonderful wealth of knowledge you are so willing to share with us. This is my first year trying to grow cut flowers to sell at our local farmers market. I have your book, Cut Flower Garden. I would love to try the china asters. I would like to plant only 10 varieties to start with. What would be your top 10 choices. Again, thanks for such helpful information that you share.

    Reply
  15. Susan U on

    Erin,
    I have a small 12×26 cut flower garden and I do love trying new varieties! I’ve purchased your China aster seed and the scabiosa type zinnias this year to add to my usual Benary giant zinnias. I’m going to use your tips for cosmos and move them to a separate area this year. I’d plow the backyard for flowers if I could! Last year was the first year I’ve used horizontal trellis and it worked great for globe amaranth and snapdragons. Some of my perennial beds might be interplaneted with annuals this year too! Thank you so so much for all your kindness and sharing your expertise!

    Reply
  16. Maggie on

    Erin, as always, your post was inspiring! My only challenge is the work of converting more former woodland space to flower gardens in time to plant. I LOVE everything you share on your blog. I received two sets of seed collections for Christmas, and can’t wait to get them started:)

    Reply
  17. Xenia on

    I am know as “the flower girl” at our local farm, a 5th generation produce farm in New England. We are expanding our cut flower offerings by adding several varieties of your China Asters to the garden; I am beyond excited! Can’t wait to begin planting these beauties!

    Reply
  18. Yulia Y. on

    Erin,
    I’ve been reading over your blog and looking at all the gorgeous pictures this winter and you’ve inspired me to add a cutting garden to my vegetable patch. I can’t wait for all the flowers :)

    Reply
  19. Karen K Woodward on

    Thank you for your wonderful post. I enjoy each one of them. I was wanting to know if these particular type of Chinese Astor’s are heirloom or hybrid.

    Reply
  20. Sonia on

    Erin I love reading your flower blog! You are honest, gracious and draw me in to be so curious and thirsty for the different flower beauties! I honestly had not researched flowers before! Since I began reading your blog in June 2018, I have enjoyed learning about different flower. Thank you for pioneering in this industry and pioneering in bringing different flowers to market :) I love how you their beauty!

    Reply
  21. Laura Miller on

    Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge! Am trying out Asters as well as Peonies and Carnations this year as a new treat for my flower customers- thanks to your posts, monthly updates, and great growing tips. Can’t wait to begin!

    Reply
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. Tari on

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

    Reply
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Heidi on

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

    Reply
  32. Lisa U. on

    These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing so much knowledge!

    Reply
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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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