Callistephus chinensis 'Ostrich Plume' has large double blooms of re-curving, petals in rich boudoir colours. It is an old variety, grown for cut flowers in Victorian times that are, once again becoming very fashionable.
Ostrich Plume Mixed produces large, vigorous heads of flowers with attractively curled interlaced petals in a blend of lovely shades, including violet, pink, red, crimson, lavender-blue and white.
Blooming from late summer to well into autumn, Asters are invaluable for beds and borders and an excellent cut flower.
Sow indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date, or sow directly where they are to flower once the soil has warmed. For a continuous show, you may wish to plant stagger the sowing dates. The seed may also be direct sown in April to May where the plants are to flower, but in this case flowering will start later.
A sunny situation should be chosen for the aster bed, which should be prepared as soon as possible, making sure that drainage is good.
Sowing Indoors: March to April
March and April sowing should be made in gentle heat, sowing into trays of compost, “Just cover” the seeds with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite.
When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays. Handle the plants with care and avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible when transplanting to prevent wilting.
Gradually harden off for 10 to 14 days before transplanting into the flowering site in early May. Light spring frosts will not harm the plants. Plant 25 to 40cm (10 to 16in) apart.
Direct Sowing: April to May
Sow thinly, 6mm (1/4in) deep in small clumps or shallow drills. Sow 30cm (12in) apart in well-cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water ground regularly, especially in dry periods.
When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings until they are finally 30cm (12in) apart in spring
Outside sowings should be gradually thinned to the same spacings when the seedlings are large enough to handle.
Flowers should be removed as soon as they have faded to promote the growth of further blooms.
Never over water, but do not let the soil dry out.
Preventive measures should be taken against aphids.
Cut flowers will last 8 to 10 days in water. Cut when flowers are half-open; recut stems underwater.
Cut Flowers, Flowers Borders and Beds, Patio and Container Plants.
Plants must not be planted in the same ground two years in a row to avoid Fusarium Wilt. A soil-borne disease that has plagued Asters in the past.
The name Aster comes from the Ancient Greek word astron, meaning "star", arriving through the Latin word astrum with the same meaning, referring to the shape of the flower head.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 220mg Average Seed Count 100 seeds Family Asteraceae Genus Callistephus Species chinensis Cultivar Ostrich Plume Mixed Synonym Aster chinensis, Aster sinensis Common Name China Aster, Annual Aster Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers Late June-Oct Height 45cm (18in) Position Full sun preferred Soil Rich, well draining soil Germination 7 to 14 days at 16-18*C (60-64*F)