Aster

Aster meaning ‘star’ in Latin, prefer well-drained, fertile soil in full sun. Mulch in late autumn. If they are getting too congested, dig up and divide in the spring, which will encourage better flowering the following year.

Asters can be prone to mildew and slugs love to dine on the shoots just below the soil surface.

Aster novae-angliae is a mildew resistant variety that flowers from August through to October and they are good choice for cut flower arrangements.

Aster novi-belgii – the real Michaelmas daisy. They have great flower colours but can suffer from verticillium wilt.

Cultivars and varieties:

Aster 'Giant Princess Azure Blue'

Aster 'Giants of California' - Attract beneficial insects

Aster 'Lady in Blue'

Aster 'Single Giant'

Aster cordifolius 'Little Carlow' - prefers partial shade, bushy 3ft (90cm) purply-blue flowers.

Aster ericoides 'Ester' - small pink flowers in October

Aster lateriflorus 'Horizontalis' - Dense bush, small white flowers with pink edges

Aster novae-angliae 'Lou Williams' - 5.5ft (170cm) large flowers

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' - 18in (45cm)

Aster novi-belgii 'Ada Ballard'

Aster novi-belgii 'Carnival' (Semi-double) - Great for a late show of flowers. red, semi-double

Aster novi-belgii 'Crimson Brocade'

Aster novi-belgii 'Eventide'

Aster novi-belgii 'Fellowship' - Great for a late show of flowers, Pale pink

Aster novi-belgii 'Lady Frances' - The flowers are shades of pale pink

Aster novi-belgii 'Marie Ballard' (Double) - Great for a late show of flowers. Double blue

Aster novi-belgii 'Rose Bonnet'

Aster novi-belgii 'Winston S Churchill'

Seeds to plant now:

Indoor or in a heated greenhouse

Cress

Lettuce

Outside

Alpine poppy

Alyssum

Antwerp hollyhock, Fig-leaved hollyhock, Hollyhock

Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia

Bristly hollyhock

Cabbage

Common hollyhock

Cress

Hollyhock

Larkspur

Normandy sorrel

Onion

Radish

Outside under cover

Lettuce

Sweet pea