Perennial aster is a flower that is often completely undeservedly left without attention. The shrub plant, numbering more than five hundred species, is distinguished by its unpretentiousness and the ability to grow in almost any conditions. There are many types and varieties of perennial asters, they all have different heights of the bush, differ in terms of flowering, size, shape and color of inflorescences. In recent years, perennial asters have become more often used in landscape design: these flowers have found their place in the frame of ridges and borders, tall Bushes serve as a backdrop for other annuals and conifers, compact ground cover asters adorn rockeries and alpine slides.
All information about the bush perennial aster, with a list of varieties and photos, is collected in this article. The most popular types of perennial flowers in temperate climates will be listed here, a brief description of the best varieties will be given, and the rules for growing bush asters will be described.
Description and characteristics
Perennial bush aster belongs to the family Astrovye or Compositae. It is this plant that is the true aster, while the more famous annuals belong to a completely different family of flowers (Calli-stefus).
In nature, perennial asters can be found in Europe and Asia, in North Africa and North America. Ornamental shrubs were grown in flower beds due to their late flowering and suitability for cutting: in the autumn garden, perennial aster is one of the few bright spots.
Shrub asters can be recognized by the following features:
- herbaceous rhizome plant;
- aster stems are straight, branched;
- the height of the bush can vary from 25 to 160 cm;
- leaves of a dark green hue, have a lanceolate shape;
- the size of the leaf blades gradually decreases towards the top of the stem;
- bush aster inflorescences - baskets, the diameter of which can be from 1 to 7 cm;
- the edges of the inflorescence are ligulate, and in the middle of the aster there are yellow tubular petals;
- shades of asters can be very different: white, pink, blue, purple, burgundy and others;
- the structure of the flower is simple, semi-double or double;
- flowering of this plant is long - about 35-40 days;
- bush varieties are photophilous, do not tolerate extreme heat and drought;
- the plant is unpretentious to the composition of the soil, grows well on heavy and clay soils (aster shows itself best on humus soil);
- perennials perfectly tolerate frosts, so they can winter in the middle lane without shelter;
- every 5-6 years, the aster bushes need to be separated and planted;
- flowers reproduce by seeds and division.
Attention! People began to cultivate asters since the 16th century. Despite the huge variety of varieties and species of this plant, only a few of them are used in landscape design.
Classification of perennials
The variety of varieties of perennial asters is so great that it is possible to create the most interesting compositions from this flower alone, in which the plants differ not only in appearance, but also in the timing of flowering.
Types of perennial asters, depending on the flowering time:
- Early varieties bloom at the end of May and continue to delight the eye until the last days of June (these varieties are also called spring varieties).
- Summer asters have an average flowering period - from July to the end of August.
- Late or autumn flowers open their buds with the arrival of September, and their flowering ends with severe frosts and snow.
Important! It is the late bush perennials that can most often be found in the gardens and flower beds of the country - autumn asters are the most popular among Russians. Due to the timing of flowering, these varieties are often called the combined word "octobrin" or "santbrinka".
Some experts share the types of perennial asters also depending on the height of the plants. It turns out three groups of varieties:
- Low-growing or curb aster has a maximum height of 25-30 cm. This flower resembles a ground cover, therefore it is successfully used in the design of rockeries and alpine slides that are fashionable today.
- Garden asters have average parameters of bushes - about 40-70 cm. Most often, such a plant resembles a ball in its shape, the bushes look neat and elegant, they are in perfect harmony with other plants, they can frame hedges and garden paths.
- Perennial tall asters can have a maximum height of 150-160 cm. Such flowers are best used in the center of the flower bed: all season tall shrubs will delight with lush greenery, and closer to autumn they will bloom many variegated inflorescences.
Advice! In tall perennial asters, the lower parts of the shoots are usually very bare, so when decorating a flower garden, you should think about how to cover these zones.
Common species of perennials
Since there are so many varieties of perennial asters (and this variety is easy to see in the photo), experts suggest dividing bush flowers into several types. It is the specific characteristics that will help an inexperienced florist to quickly determine the type of flower, because they take into account the flowering time, plant height and growing conditions.
The most popular types of perennial bush asters in Russia will be listed below.
The Alpine group of asters most of all loves the sun and perfectly tolerates even severe frosts. The inflorescences of these plants are single large baskets, the diameter of which is 2-6 cm.
Alpine varieties begin to bloom in the second year after planting. They belong to spring flowers, that is, early flowering dates - from May to June. As a rule, these plants are not tall - about 30 cm. A distinctive feature is a very lush flowering, inflorescences similar to daisies. The flowering period is approximately 30 days.
Attention! It is recommended to plant alpine asters in the fall, by which time the plant will bloom and have time to prepare for wintering.
Italian aster is a representative of the summer subspecies of flowers. This is a taller perennial, reaching 60 cm and blooming from July to late August. The inflorescences of these asters are collected in thyroid baskets with a diameter of about 4 cm.
In all varieties of the Italian aster species, the inflorescences are painted in lilac-blue shades. The seeds of these plants ripen at the end of September.
Another summer flower, the height of the bushes of which can reach 75-80 cm. There are many inflorescences on the bush, all of them are painted in shades of lilac. It is easy to recognize this species by the dark brown center of the inflorescence.
The New England aster is often called the American aster, it is a shrub from the autumn group. Baskets of such varieties open in September and delight with lush flowering throughout the fall. Autumn frosts are not dangerous for the New England aster, its flowering can continue even under snow.
The standard, highly branched stems of New England varieties can grow up to two meters. The inflorescences are large, about 4 cm in diameter, 25-40 flowers in large clusters.
New Belgian (Virginian)
The height of the perennial bushes can vary greatly depending on the variety, and varies from 40 to 150 cm. The stems of this aster are vigorous, lignified, undisturbed. The inflorescences are collected in panicles, their average diameter is about 2 cm.
The color of the New Belgian aster is predominantly pink-purple. The species blooms in September. A feature is a very dense arrangement of inflorescences, between which foliage is practically invisible.
In bush asters, the stems are soft, pubescent, reaching a height of 50 cm. Inflorescences about 3 cm in diameter are scattered over the entire surface of the bush, their shape is sparsely scutellum.
In the group of shrubby perennial asters, there are also creeping varieties. The dwarf variety can be used as a ground cover.
Important! In the group of bush perennial asters there are many varieties that differ in the shade of the inflorescences, the timing of flowering and the height of the bush.
Photos and names of ageratoid varieties of perennial bush asters are less popular, because these plants are not so much decorative as they are medicinal. The stems of such flowers are straight, smooth, growing up to 100 cm. The inflorescences are colored blue, small, collected in shields.
For medicinal purposes, all parts of the ageratoid aster are used: stems, leaves and flowers.
Perennial spherical aster is distinguished by the shape of a bush, which is a perfectly regular ball. The height of this plant is average - about 40-50 cm. The inflorescences are medium-sized, but there are a lot of them on the shoots. The flowers of the spherical aster are pink, and the middle is small and yellow in color.
In terry varieties of perennials, the inflorescences are very dense, at times, they resemble variegated balls. The structure of the flower is complex, the reed petals are arranged in several rows. The color of asters can be different.
Advice! Terry varieties of perennial asters look very decorative, so they can be used both for decorating flower beds and for planting in pots and flowerpots.
Heather aster differs from other species in the structure of the inflorescences and the appearance of the bush. The shoots of this plant tend to the ground, and the bushes are in the shape of a pyramid. The height of the bushes is decent - about a meter. Inflorescences bloom in September.
The flowers of the heather aster themselves are small, but their abundance creates the feeling of a solid carpet. Flowers are painted in light shades (white, pink). Most of all, this type of perennial is suitable for growing in parks and squares, decorating gardens.
Another medicinal plant is the perennial Tatar aster. The bushes of this flower grow up to one and a half meters, its inflorescences are small, pale pink or dull blue.
A distinctive feature is a large bright yellow center, which gives the shrub a decorative effect. The Tatar aster loves moisture and coolness; in nature, the flower grows along the banks of reservoirs and on forest edges.
It is impossible to list all varieties of perennial asters. Today, these flowers are only gaining popularity, so it is difficult to find a very wide range of seeds and shoots on sale.
The following varieties of perennials are considered the most beautiful and vibrant florists.
The medium-sized bushes of this aster are shaped like hemispheres. The shoots of the flower are branched, even, reach a height of 50 cm. The inflorescences are terry, very elegant, painted in a rich red-crimson hue. Jenny blooms from September until frost.
Lady in Blue
One of the varieties of the summer alpine aster. The height of the shoots is a maximum of 40 cm, the bushes are in the shape of a regular half-ball. The diameter of the flowers is 3-3.5 cm, the petals are painted in blue-blue shades. Flowering at Lady in Blue is long - not less than 35 days.
Advice! Blue shades are a rarity in medium and late flowering plants, so blue aster will definitely come in handy in decorating the landscape. Neat balls of perennials will perfectly complement a flower garden with coniferous shrubs or lawn grass.
The varieties called Gremlin are intended for cutting. The stems of these asters are straight and long, and the inflorescences consist of oblong tubular petals, collected in large pompons. Astra Gremlin Sunny Day is painted in a cheerful yellow shade. There are also varieties with red, purple and orange flowers.
Important! In the line of Gremlin varieties, you can find the Mix colors, it is impossible to pass by these multi-colored, bright terry balls - the variegated shades are immediately striking. In addition, it is easy to make autumn bouquets from such flowers.
A rare species of perennial asters that naturally inhabit the Far East. The bushes of these flowers grow up to 80-85 cm. The inflorescences have the shape of baskets, their petals are painted in delicate blue-blue shades. Maaki's middle is bright yellow.
One of the New Belgian varieties of shrub asters. Aster with long and even stems is perfect for cutting. The deep blue hue of the flowers is ideally combined with the yellow and gold colors of the autumn garden.
The height of the bushes of this aster is small - about 30-40 cm. Apollo's inflorescences are snow-white, very similar to small daisies. Under good growing conditions, the shrub grows rapidly and can cover large areas.
A compact curb variety that forms neat spherical bushes 25-30 cm in height. Astra Kassel is excellent for group plantings, blooms from September to October. The shades of this perennial are lilac-purple.
New Belgian variety with semi-double flowers. The inflorescences are painted in a bright lilac shade, the center of the baskets is yellow. The bushes are quite tall - from 80 to 100 cm. Sarah Ballard blooms from August to frost. You can use this aster for cutting.
Very picturesque aster with wine-red inflorescences. The bushes are neat, spherical, their height is small - about 30 cm. The Starlight variety is often used for pot cultivation, compact plants can frame rabatki, decorate alpine slides.
Attention! Shrubby asters should not be confused with Chinese varieties. Unlike perennials, Chinese flowers have a lifespan of only one season. The annual varieties include the aster Balun, Zarevo, Cloud and hundreds of other varieties.
It is not difficult to grow a perennial shrub aster, because the plant is unpretentious, it requires the simplest care and a minimum of attention from the grower. The most important thing is to choose the right place for the flowers. Asters love the sun, but cannot tolerate extreme heat and drought.
It is better to propagate perennial varieties by dividing the bush. It is preferable to do this in the spring, so that the flowers have time for acclimatization and development of the root system. The planting scheme depends on the height of the asters: undersized varieties are planted at intervals of 20-30 cm, the tallest bushes are no thicker than 50-80 cm.
Important! In one place, bush asters grow for 4-6 years, after which they need to be separated and rejuvenated.
Caring for perennials is as follows:
- Regular watering during dry periods and more frequent irrigation at the stage of active growth of green mass.
- Gentle loosening of the soil between waterings or mulching, which is safer, since the root system of asters is shallow.
- Infrequent feeding with rotted manure, bird droppings or peat, mineral fertilizers with an emphasis on phosphorus (you need to fertilize flowers once a year, starting from the second year of life).
- Annual liming of acidic soil (lime is simply poured onto a bush cut before winter).
- Tying tall varieties and spreading shrubs.
- Pinching the tops of the shoots allows for more abundant flowering.
- Pruning asters before wintering - the stems are shortened to 10-15 cm.
Attention! In the northern regions, it is better to insulate perennial asters and cover the roots with a thick layer of peat, humus or sawdust. Low-growing varieties can be covered with coniferous spruce branches.
Competently selected varieties of perennial asters will delight you with lush flowering throughout the warm season. The variety of species and varieties of these shrubs is simply amazing: every grower will be able to choose something suitable for his site. Most of all, in perennial flowers, their unpretentiousness and amazing frost resistance are appreciated.