Asters: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

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The brilliant flowers of asters brighten the fall garden when little else is blooming. Indeed, "aster," the Latin word for "star," aptly describes the starry flower heads.

About asters
Aster thrives under a wide range of conditions. Plant height ranges from 8 inches to 8 feet, depending on variety. Tall varieties make good back-of-the-border plants and are also attractive planted in naturalized meadows.

Special features of asters
Attracts butterflies.

Choosing a site to grow asters
Dependent on species. Some prefer full sun, others require shade. Some types of asters grow in wetlands, others are suitable for xeriscaping.

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.

Ongoing Care
Highly variable, but most asters are carefree.

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