Asters, China

(Callistephus chinensis) These asters are native to China and Korea, but the gorgeous annuals are cultivated worldwide for their showy, ornamental blooms. In the late summer and fall, the blossoms offer a dazzling rainbow of colors. The flowers can also be brought indoors to brighten the home, as they keep quite well in the vase. Start indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost, or direct seed outdoors after last frost. Ideal germination temperature is 70F. Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep. Seeds germinate in 10-20 days. Prefers full sun to light shade, well-drained soil and moderate moisture. Space plants to 8-12 inches apart. Plants will not rebloom after cutting. Succession plant every few weeks for continuous blooming. Special note: When sowing your own saved seed, it is helpful to stratify (cold treat) seeds for two weeks before sowing.

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