Growing Tips: Alpine Aster

Quick Reference:

Perennial, a plant that usually does not flower until the second season and lives and flowers for multiple seasons thereafter. Cover seed with 1/8" fine soil spaced 1 to 1 ½ inches apart. Germinates in 15 to 25 days with an optimum soil temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F. Germination is improved by pre-chilling seed in the refrigerator for two to three weeks before planting. Space between plants in the garden, 12 to 14 inches. Plant height: 8 to 12 inches.

Where to plant:

Alpine Aster likes full sun but will grow in light shade, grows well in any good, well-drained soil and the seed should be planted in the garden after the soil has warmed in the spring.

Planting Instructions:

It is preferred that the seed be started indoors in a container because the environment is easier to control. Pre-chill the seed in the refrigerator for two to three weeks before planting to improve germination. Fill a container that has drainage holes with sterilized potting soil, sprinkle seed on the soil surface, cover lightly with fine soil and water well for good seed-soil contact. Cover container with newspaper to reduce evaporation and keep soil moist until seedlings emerge. Remove the cover as soon as the seedlings start to sprout. When seedlings show their first green leaves, water with a liquid solution of plant food, repeat every two weeks and place the container in full sun. When the seedlings have their first set of true leaves transplant to individual plastic pots and grow in full sun, with cool nights, 50 to 55 degrees F. After the last frost move pots outdoors until the plants become well established, 2 to 2 ½ inches tall, then transplant to their permanent location. After transplanting immediately water well with a ½ strength liquid solution of plant food to reduce transplant shock.

Care:

Likes lots of moisture, but the soil not soggy wet. Water only in the morning. They are not heavy feeders, apply plant food sparingly once a year. As the clumps increase in size, they require frequent division or the plants tend to die in the center.