Fluffy green bushes of Alpine perennial aster with charming flower baskets, as in the photo, delight with a variety of shades from early summer to autumn, and the availability of planting and care allows them to be grown even on rocky soils.
Cultivated back in the 16th century, alpine aster is indispensable in landscape design - when decorating the foot of hills, edging borders, to revive compositions with other plants.
Alpine aster refers to ground cover perennial plants that attract gardeners with excellent decorative qualities. Due to the horizontal growth of the roots, they form a bright grassy carpet that prevents weeds from growing and protects the soil from drying out.
Erect, pubescent shoots of the Alpine aster grow from a horizontally branching root and end in a single inflorescence-basket at a height of about 5 to 40 cm.The diameter of the flower ranges from 3 to 6 cm.The leaves are bright green, small in size. With sufficient illumination, the alpine perennial ground cover aster forms voluminous bushes that remain green, even leaving under the snow.
The perennial alpine aster, as the photo shows, resembles a chamomile in appearance - in the center of the flower is a fluffy yellow circle, from which delicate petals radiate radially. Perennial aster flowers fascinate with delicate, discreet beauty, which is set off by the rich green of their leaves.
The attractiveness of the Alpine herbaceous aster for growing in gardens and summer cottages is explained by its qualities:
- long flowering period;
- simple care rules;
- a variety of shades - from white to deep purple;
- the possibilities of combining perennial asters with other colors.
The genus of flowers Alpine aster is widespread in various regions of the Northern Hemisphere and has up to two and a half hundred different species, among which there are annuals and perennials. But many species of semi-shrub asters grow only in the south of the African continent. Alpine aster varieties differ in terms of flowering, range of shades, cup sizes. The most popular of them are the following.
A variety of perennial alpine asters, attracting with compact green bushes, which are crowned with caps of wonderful snow-white flowers. They look great in any composition.
Belongs to the varieties of white alpine asters - low, up to 15-20 cm, stems with white flower baskets resembling chamomile stand out against the background of lush green foliage.
Alpine perennial with charming blue petals, inside of which a yellow circle stands out with a bright terry speck. The flowers are relatively large and reach a diameter of 8 cm, and the bushes grow up to half a meter, forming a lush carpet along the borders. The variety is distinguished by long flowering.
Low-growing alpine aster variety with chamomile flower cups of various shades that look great on rocky hills. Refers to winter-hardy varieties. When grown from seed, the bushes bloom in the second year.
Alpine Aster Pink
It is considered one of the best perennials. Prefers sunny areas, but blooms in semi-shady places, throwing out pink inflorescences with a diameter of up to 4 cm. It belongs to early flowering varieties - budding begins in May.
Alpine blue aster
It belongs to low-growing perennials with large flowers - up to 6 cm in diameter. Their rich blue color casts a light violet, and the elongated leaves at the base of the roots form a lush green rosette.
One of the best low-growing perennials of the Alpine aster with small blue flowers, up to 3 cm in diameter.
Goliath is distinguished by its larger purple flowers. Blooms all June.
Herbaceous perennial aster alpine with small pink inflorescences. Bushes grow rapidly and require frequent repotting with division.
Aster perennial mixture
It is used to obtain mixed shades in a variety of flower arrangements. Differs in larger semi-double inflorescences of bright colors.
Alpine aster perennial is characterized as an extremely unpretentious herb for open ground. However, in order to obtain long-term and massive flowering, it is desirable to provide it with favorable conditions:
- in good lighting, the alpine aster bushes will grow and acquire lush, voluminous forms;
- ensuring soil drainage increases plant survival;
- the period of mass flowering requires more abundant watering;
- some types of asters, especially tall ones, need systematic feeding;
- with the onset of autumn frosts, the bush is cut to the root collar;
- when pruning alpine asters in spring, frozen twigs are removed at the same time;
- if part of the root system is bare, the plant should be transplanted or sprinkled with earth;
- some, rapidly degenerating types of asters, need to be planted periodically, separating healthy parts;
- in the south and in the middle lane, plants hibernate without shelter, in more northern regions they are covered with spruce branches or dry moss.
Growing by seeds
In temperate climates, the seeds of Alpine aster can be sown directly into open ground in early April and covered with foil. After a few weeks, sprouts will appear that can be transplanted into a flower bed. At the end of summer, the first flowers will appear on the green bushes. And next year they will demonstrate massive profuse flowering. It is better to cut the buds on young alpine aster bushes in the first year, since flowering will negatively affect their wintering and subsequent development.
Many gardeners sow Alpine aster seeds in late autumn in slightly frozen soil. The seeds are poured into the grooves and sprinkled with earth, and in the spring, green shoots appear from them. In order to prevent thickening of the plantings, already grown bushes are planted.
Important! High germination is observed only in fresh alpine aster seeds.
You can grow alpine perennial aster seedlings from seeds and at home, and then transplant it to a permanent place. In this case:
- sowing dates are postponed to the end of February or March;
- a soil is prepared from garden soil, mixed half with rotted manure, or a ready-made flower substrate is taken;
- the substrate boxes must have drainage holes;
- Alpine aster seeds should be buried in the soil no more than 1-1.5 cm or simply placed on the surface and sprinkled with a layer of loose earth;
- moisten moderately, making sure that a crust does not form on the surface of the soil;
- put containers with perennial aster plantings on the southern windows to ensure good illumination;
- after the first shoots appear, the temperature in the room must be reduced to 16-18 degrees, otherwise the sprouts will stretch;
- an aster dive is carried out with the appearance of 3-4 true leaves;
- you can grow perennial seedlings without picking if you plant aster seeds in separate cups;
- with the onset of heat, the seedlings are gradually hardened;
- at the beginning of summer, plantings can be transferred to open ground, previously disinfected with a hot solution of potassium permanganate.
An interesting and unusual method of growing alpine asters is sowing seeds in boiling water. It allows you to speed up the emergence of seedlings. The substrate prepared for planting perennial aster seeds is filled in a plastic container with a transparent lid. Flower seeds are placed on the surface of the soil in several rows. Then the soil with the aster crops is spilled with ground cover boiling water, after which the container is closed with a lid and placed in a warm place. Delicate shoots of flowers hatch very quickly, after which the lid must be opened. The box is placed on the windowsill, and after the appearance of 3-4 leaves, the seedlings dive.
Important! Growing alpine asters from seeds does not always guarantee the preservation of varietal traits, which should be taken into account when breeding rare species.
Propagation by cuttings
If, when propagating aster alpine perennial, it is required to preserve all the parental characteristics, the best way is cuttings. This procedure is available even for novice gardeners, if you follow some simple recommendations:
- for cutting cuttings, you need to choose healthy and strong specimens of an Alpine perennial;
- young shoots are cut into pieces so that there are 3 leaves on each cuttings;
- the sections are treated with a stimulant - some gardeners advise using succinic acid for root development;
- ground cover aster cuttings are planted in a special soil prepared from a mixture of turf soil, peat and sand;
- in order to speed up the rooting of cuttings, they are covered with a film;
- the soil is moistened in moderation, preventing drying out and excess water;
- every day the planting is aired by opening the film;
- after 2-3 weeks, when the cuttings take root, the film can be removed.
The established bushes of the Alpine perennial aster at the end of summer or in September can already be transplanted to their permanent place.
Dividing the bush
Many gardeners prefer to propagate the perennial alpine aster by dividing the bush, considering it the simplest and most effective. The operation can be carried out throughout the season - from the beginning of summer to September. After the start of active growth of the plant, part of the bush is carefully separated along with the root and transplanted to a new place. Simultaneously with the transplant, weak and dried shoots of perennial aster are removed. A site for planting a ground cover aster should not be chosen in a lowland so that water does not stagnate on it, otherwise the roots of the flowers will begin to ache and rot. Well-dug loams are considered the best option. Poor soils should be fertilized with organic matter and calcareous to increase the calcium content. Marigolds and marigolds are useful ground cover predecessors for asters in a flower bed.
Although perennial alpine aster can grow and bloom in one place from 5 to 7 years, the optimal period for rapid development and flowering is considered to be a period of up to 3-4 years. After that, the flowering of the aster slowly declines. In order for the alpine perennial to show lush flowering for a long time, simple rules must be followed:
- drying out or waterlogging of the soil should not be allowed - watering should be uniform, and the water should be settled;
- regularly get rid of weeds that take a significant part of the nutrients from the soil;
- remove already faded aster flowers;
- periodic loosening will provide the plants with the necessary drainage - it should be shallow so as not to damage the roots of the flowers;
- hilling bushes will help strengthen the root system of herbaceous asters;
- aster responds well to feeding, they are especially important during the period of plant growth and budding;
- in the spring, from the flower beds where perennial asters have wintered, it is necessary to remove the snow faster so that water stagnation does not occur, which is detrimental to their roots.
Perennial alpine aster has good resistance to many diseases, however, unfavorable growing conditions can cause damage to plants with powdery mildew or fusarium. When the first signs of pathology appear, the affected plant parts must be removed and destroyed, and the perennial aster bushes must be treated with antifungal drugs or Bordeaux liquid.
Insect pests can also appear on plants - spider mites, caterpillars or slugs, for protection from which various means are also used. Processing of aster flowers with ash or soap solutions is effective. But the best prevention of disease is to provide comfortable conditions for flower development.
Application in landscape design
Excellent decorative properties of the Alpine perennial aster, a variety of colors make it irreplaceable in landscape design:
- when creating a background for alpine slides;
- colorful bands of perennial asters in rockeries;
- for edging curbs and garden paths;
- for planting in flower beds in combination with other flowers;
- to create a bright living carpet of perennial aster on the site;
- planting along the banks of garden ponds.
Alpine aster is a wonderful perennial, pleasing with its decorativeness, brightness, variety of colors and allowing to form flower beds of unique beauty.