Callistephus chinensis. The Blues Mix is an excellent choice for the cut flower garden. It blooms from July to October on strong, upright, multi branching stems to a height of 75cm (30"). The mix of large and small flowers appear in blues, purples, and white, but all with the ruff of fully double petals. All are attractive to pollinating insects and hummingbirds, and they look magnificent in a large bouquet. Be sure to take frequent harvests of cut flowers, or at least keep the plants dead-headed to prolong and enhance the bloom time. Please follow the planting and spacing instructions closely.
Attractive to hummingbirds
Outstanding cut flowers
How to Grow China Aster
Step 1: Starting
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before planting out, in peat pots or similar. Otherwise direct sow outdoors after the last frost date. Just cover the seeds. If starting indoors, provide bright light and a soil temperature of 18-21°C (65-70°F). China Aster seedlings are very susceptible to damping off, so provide good ventilation and only water from below.
Step 2: Growing
Space or transplant 30-45cm (12-18″) apart. This spacing is key to success later in the season, so please follow the guidance. Do not pinch back young plants. Water regularly during dry spells. This plant is particularly sensitive to over-watering, and will not thrive if over-crowded, poorly ventilated, or situated close to a heat-reflecting surface. Mulch around the plants in summer to help keep the roots cool.
Callistephus is prone to a bacteria-like organism known as aster yellows. If yellow spots become an obvious problem, destroy any infected plant before the condition spreads to others. Practice strict garden rotation with China Asters: never plant them in the same spot year after year.