Italian Asters - Varieties, Care, Use In Garden Design. Photo

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Italian Asters - Varieties, Care, Use In Garden Design. Photo
Italian Asters - Varieties, Care, Use In Garden Design. Photo

Video: Italian Asters - Varieties, Care, Use In Garden Design. Photo

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Video: Aster – Family Plot 2023, February
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Similar to miniature daisies, modest in size and color, but still covering the bush with a solid pillow, the inflorescences of Italian asters are easily recognizable on any flower garden. This is an old, one of the first perennial asters introduced into the culture, which is loved, first of all, for its ease of growing and stable decorativeness. Lilac pillows are magnificent in the edges, flower beds and ridges, and the beauty of dense, strict-shaped bushes can give odds to more capricious women of fashion. It is difficult for Italian asters to deal with new hybrids. But this plant has won a place in the list of the best unpretentious plants blooming in the second half of the garden season.

Italian asters - varieties, care, use in garden design
Italian asters - varieties, care, use in garden design

Content:

  • Description of Italian asters
  • The best varieties of Italian asters
  • Italian aster in garden design
  • Conditions for growing Italian asters
  • Caring for Italian asters

Description of Italian asters

The name "Italian aster" remains the most popular name for the plant, perhaps due to the almost mandatory use of this aster in the design of the garden in the Apennine style. But in catalogs and in everyday life, this subspecies of asters is also called in another way - European aster, wild aster, steppe aster, chamomile aster, lilac aster, September aster, lilac daisies, santbrinks, octobrinks, oak trees.

Italian asters (Aster amellus) - one of the types of perennial asters, widely represented in nature in Eurasia. This plant settles on calcareous soils, usually on gravel slopes and is considered one of the typical wild species for France, Italy, the Caucasus, although the Italian aster is found in other countries of Asia Minor and southern Europe.

Italian asters are easy to recognize even in the company of relatives. These are special plants with almost always a fairly strict bush shape and a prominent shape of inflorescences-baskets. Medium in height, the bushes of Italian asters surprise with good branching, thanks to which they retain an almost perfect hemispherical shape.

Austere by nature, these asters always look smart and neat, but they do not lose their wild, natural beauty. Shoots hard and pubescent, dark, rather thin. The height of varieties in Italian aster ranges from 30 cm to 60 cm, usually the size of the plant directly depends on the growing conditions and soil characteristics. The rhizome is short, the buds of renewal are located at the soil level.

The leaves of the Italian aster would be unremarkable if there were not so many of them, and they did not create the effect of a dense, dense pillow. Before the start of flowering, the bushes of Italian asters look elegant and magnificent, and during flowering there is no feeling of "bare rear".

Sitting on the shoots alternately, the leaves are typical for almost all perennial asters - lanceolate, medium-sized, dark green, with a slight edging, in some varieties they give the plant a bluish or silvery effect. The lower stem leaves are petiolar, whole and inversely ovoid. Middle and upper - with three veins, whole, sessile, with a pointed apex.

In the Italian aster, the inflorescences stand out clearly against the background of other asters. Not the smallest, the baskets of this type of asters reach 4-5 cm in diameter. Despite the fact that the inflorescences are quite loose, the diameter of the flowers creates the feeling of a solid pillow. In addition, up to 15 flowers bloom in one inflorescence, which creates a dense veil on the tops of the shoots. The shape of the baskets is most reminiscent of daisies. Tubular yellow flowers create a bright, slightly convex center, around which lanceolate, long reed flowers are located in a dense row.

After flowering, compressed, large, hairy achenes with a spectacular white tuft ripen. The seeds of the Italian aster ripen from June to October.

For the Italian aster, a lilac color is typical - all shades of light purple and lilac colors. Among the various colors of this plant, rare shades are also found - lavender, lilac-pink, light fuchsia. Newer varieties increasingly have colder, bluer or bluer tones.

Italian asters are long-flowering perennials. On average, the flowering period of these asters lasts about two months, and with additional watering during drought - more than 65 days. Flowering starts in July, at the height of summer, and continues until the beginning of the golden autumn parade, as if in honor of the end of the garden season.

Aster - European, wild, steppe, chamomile, lilac, September; lilac daisies, santbrinks, octobrinks, oak trees - popular names for the Italian aster
Aster - European, wild, steppe, chamomile, lilac, September; lilac daisies, santbrinks, octobrinks, oak trees - popular names for the Italian aster

The best varieties of Italian asters

In Italian asters, the palette of varieties and decorative forms is more limited than in fashionable New England and Belgian asters, but there is still plenty to choose from. Varietal Italian asters are considered less resistant, degenerate faster, and often need to be separated from “simple” plants.

Of the decorative forms of the plant, the Bessarabian variety (Aster amellus var. Bessarabicus) is in particular demand - a tall, showy bush with large baskets of brightly colored lilac or purple-violet inflorescences. It is often used for breeding varieties, enhancing the cutting characteristics and the size of the inflorescences.

The decorative Iberian form (Aster amellus var. Ibericus) is a lower and densely branching variety, in which the main thing is not the size, but the number of inflorescences.

Popular varieties of Italian asters include:

  • the most popular variety with a warm lilac color of narrow-petaled inflorescences "King George";
  • favorite cut variety "Gnome" with delicate lilac inflorescences;
  • cut-off hot pink variety with a dark center of reed flowers “Rosea”;
  • delicate lilac-blue variety "Coerulea";
  • pink, elegant variety with narrow petals "Henrich Seibert";
  • rose-colored, with muted pastel color and widely spaced petals, “Lady Hindlip” variety;
  • light purple variety, under the inflorescences of which the greenery is not visible "Herman Lens";
  • lilac-purple variety with large inflorescences "Kobold".
Italian aster (Aster amellus) "King George"
Italian aster (Aster amellus) "King George"
Italian aster (Aster amellus) "Lady Hindlip"
Italian aster (Aster amellus) "Lady Hindlip"

Italian aster in garden design

The varietal Italian asters are spectacular but still have a reputation for being more landscape than austere. The neat bushes of this aster look good in regular plantings, but this plant fully reveals its beauty in natural gardens and where there are no too strict patterns in the compositions. All the imperfection, trepidation, peculiarity of the inflorescences of this aster, as well as the beauty of its greenery, when choosing the right companions, look like an exclusive decoration.

This type of aster can be used:

  • in mixborders, especially landscape plantings;
  • as an emphasis on the second half of the season;
  • in natural flower beds and groups;
  • for the edge;
  • in groups on the lawn;
  • in imitations of wild thickets and flowering tracts;
  • in meadow plantings and prairie gardens;
  • for easy-care flower beds;
  • for masking casing of buildings or objects.

The partners for the Italian aster are typical hardy herbaceous perennials of the landscape type. It looks great with stonecrops, oregano, sage, catnip, cereals, purse, wormwood, fragrant rue.

The varietal Italian asters are spectacular but still have a reputation for being more of a landscape plant
The varietal Italian asters are spectacular but still have a reputation for being more of a landscape plant

Growing conditions for Italian asters

Italian asters are considered one of the most undemanding perennial asters, but they will not be able to settle anywhere in the garden. For these asters, it is necessary to strictly select the reaction of the soil and lighting, because they retain the habits characteristic of wild ancestors and feel comfortable only in conditions that imitate Italian.

Italian asters are sun-loving. They are not planted even in light shade or in diffused lighting, because an insufficient number of hours of sunshine can cause a reduction not only in the duration, but also in the abundance of flowering.

The soil for the Italian aster should be calcareous, if possible - gravel, or at least well-drained. The plant does not tolerate dampness and feels better in dry or slightly damp soil, on hills. It is not worth planting the Italian aster in places where there is even the slightest risk of stagnant water.

Asters are undemanding to soil nutritional value. On fertile soil, they can lose the characteristic silvery or bluish edge of greenery, on poor soil, flowering worsens, so it is better for a plant to choose medium-fertile high-quality soils.

When choosing a site for planting Italian asters, you need to pay attention to the wind and heat. Italian asters love south-facing slopes and compositions illuminated by the southern sun. Warm, cozy, without cold drafts, areas suit them perfectly.

Italian asters are considered one of the most undemanding perennial asters
Italian asters are considered one of the most undemanding perennial asters

Caring for Italian asters

It is not by chance that this type of aster is considered one of the easiest to grow. Italian asters are rarely troublesome, stable, hardy and do not require constant careful maintenance. In fact, you only need to take care of a few basic procedures that are required for any flowering plants:

  • About watering in a severe, prolonged drought. Aster is watered carefully, without soaking the leaves, at the root, with deep soaking of the soil. She needs occasional watering to keep the plant from withering; they are preferable to surface watering.
  • Asters need weeding from weeds, especially during the period when they begin to grow.
  • The soil should be loosened after watering or heavy rainfall (usually they combine loosening with weeding).
  • They need early spring feeding with full mineral fertilizer - the only and mandatory one. But if they want to achieve especially lush flowering from Italian asters, top dressing is applied 2-3 times a year - in early spring with nitrogen fertilizers, at the beginning of budding with full mineral fertilizers, and at the beginning of flowering with potassium-phosphorus fertilizers. For the plant, use the standard fertilizer dosage recommended by the manufacturer.

Pruning of Italian asters usually comes down to cutting the inflorescences for bouquets, which is carried out before the baskets of the inflorescences fully bloom. For the winter, the plants are cut to the root, mulching the soil with leaves or adding snow to protect the buds. If there is no risk of waterlogging, you can leave dry bushes with achenes to decorate winter flower beds, and prune in early spring.

When grown in a regular garden, light pruning helps to give the plants more strict contours, a solid row or even ball effect, but the Italian aster is already characterized by beautiful natural forms and its "wild" character is not a disadvantage, but the main advantage of the species.

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