Wonderful bicolour asters!
A compact branchy plant up to 50 cm high. Inflorescences are flat-round, 5-6 cm in diameter, dark red with a white centre. On a plant up to 30 inflorescences.
They are used very widely: for planting in prefabricated flower beds in groups, for flower beds - in rows and for cutting.
The plant is photophilous, cold-resistant. It reaches its greatest decorativeness when grown in open, sunny places and fairly fertile soils.
Sowing is done in March-April in boxes, the seeds are lightly sprinkled with earth. At a soil temperature of + 18 + 20 ° C, seedlings appear on 14-21 days.
They dive in the phase of two true leaves according to the scheme of 7x7 cm. Before planting in open ground, the seedlings are hardened.
Planted in open ground in May, maintaining a distance between plants of 20-35 cm.
* From the chic asters grown in your own garden, you want to collect seeds so as not to part with your favourite flowers.
However, an attempt to obtain seeds from some asters is sometimes unsuccessful - when looking for a reason, it makes sense to study the biological characteristics of the asters culture.
The inflorescence-basket of an aster consists of ligulate, located along the edge, and small tubular flowers in the centre, between which flowers of a transitional type are located in 1-2 rows.
Small tubular flowers are bisexual, and reed and transitional flowers are same-sex females.
Annual asters have the ability to self-pollinate and cross-pollinate.
Tubular flowers are pollinated by their own pollen, and reed and transitional ones are cross-pollinated by insects (pollen from tubular flowers of their own or another inflorescence).
Decorative varieties of asters have double inflorescences, consisting of reed or long tubular flowers, in which small yellow tubular ones are almost absent (or not visible).
With an increase in the doubleness of the inflorescences, their pollination becomes more difficult and the duration of flowering of asters increases (small tubular flowers live for about 1 week, and reed flowers - 2-7 weeks). After pollination, the tubular flowers wither, and the reed flowers remain decorative until all the tubular ones are pollinated.
Among the variety of varieties of asters, highly productive ones stand out - giving a large number of seeds, and low-productive ones - producing few seeds (these are, as a rule, the most decorative asters).
The smaller the doubleness of the inflorescences of asters, the more seeds are formed and the faster they ripen. The higher the doubleness of the inflorescences of asters, the fewer small tubular flowers, respectively, and the less seeds are set (in inflorescences consisting only of reed flowers, seeds are practically not tied).
To preserve the terryness of asters, it is necessary to collect seeds from the most terry inflorescences - from seeds from less terry baskets, terry inflorescences will not be obtained in the future.
In regions with a long spring and cold autumn, it is almost never possible to get seeds from ground and winter sowing asters, because they bloom half a month later and bloom a month longer than asters grown in seedlings - the seeds do not have time to ripen before the autumn cold (asters bloom 80-125 days after germination, and seed ripening occurs after 150-183 days).
For earlier flowering of asters in July-early August, it is necessary to sow seeds for seedlings in the second half of March-early April.
In addition to extending the growing season, the amount of positive temperatures received by plants during the season is important, therefore, asters are more successfully grown for seeds in regions with a warm climate, where a warm spring and a long dry autumn allow the plant to complete the full cycle of development.
At the same time, during the period of seed ripening, it is important to maintain the soil moisture necessary for asters - this also affects productivity.
High quality asters seeds can only be obtained from strong healthy plants, free from pests and diseases, therefore, when growing seed asters, it is necessary to strictly observe the agrotechnics of the asters culture and their crop rotation (return asters plantings to their original place no earlier than after 4-5 years) .
Multi-tiered branching of asters shoots slows down the formation and maturation of seeds, so it is necessary to leave the first and best 3-6 inflorescences on the mother plant (depending on the variety, and in late varieties 1 inflorescence), and remove the rest.
Seeds of asters of various varieties ripen approximately 40-60 days after the start of flowering (depending on weather conditions, the duration of flowering of asters varies and the seed ripening period shifts).
Dry baskets with ripe seeds are harvested in sunny, dry weather. If the seeds on the aster bushes have not yet fully matured before frost, then the bushes are transplanted into pots (asters easily tolerate a neat transplant), which are transferred to a dry, bright room for growing and ripening.
It takes about 15-20 days to ripen inflorescences with completely dried reed flowers with good air exchange and a temperature of 15-20 degrees.
When ripening, it is necessary to turn the plants from time to time for uniform illumination and ventilation of the inflorescences.
After ripening, the seeds are cleaned of plant residues, poured into hermetically sealed glass vessels, which are stored at low humidity and a temperature of about +2 degrees (otherwise the seeds will quickly lose their germination).
Under optimal storage conditions, high quality asters seeds remain viable for 3 years.