Growing Asters in Containers: 6 Tips
Asters can thrive as container plants if given the proper care and maintenance. These six tips will get your container aster off to a great start.
1. Improve Your Potting Soil
Although aster plants will grow well in many types of soils, you should give young aster plants as many advantages as possible. When creating your potting soil, use some quality peat moss mixed with compost and an all-purpose fertilizer. Also, adding a bit of animal manure or super phosphate will do wonders for your aster plants.
2. Give Them Plenty of Sunshine
Your young aster plants will need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight on most days. If you are planting them in a container, you may want to move the container around during the day to get maximum sunlight while they are becoming established. If you are keeping them indoors, make sure they are placed in a windowsill that gets direct sunlight or set them outside during the day.
3. Do Not Water Too Much
When you first plant your aster from seed or seedling, water them thoroughly. However, don't soak the soil. After the initial watering, water only enough to keep the soil moist. Aster plants will not grow very well in soil that is too wet and will often suffer from diseases such as aster wilt or root rot when the soil has too much water.
4. Consider Adding Mulch
If you are planting your aster in an outdoor container, consider adding quality organic mulch. Cedar mulch works best for aster plants and has the added benefit of acting as an additional fertilizer as the mulch decomposes. If you add mulch to your aster plants, allow enough room for the aster plant to grow while not being restricted or impeded by the mulch. Create a 1- or 2-inch opening in the mulch around the plant. The mulch will help protect the planet from insects and pests, but will not restrict the growth of the aster.
5. Fertilize Often
Aster plants really benefit from frequent applications of a quality, all-purpose fertilizer with high phosphate content. You should add fertilizer to your aster plants about once a month to provide the necessary nutrients and promote better growth.
6. Protect in the Winter
If you live in an area where winters are particularly harsh, you may want to cut the plant down so only the stem is visible; a height of 2 or 3 inches covered with 2 or 3 inches of cedar organic mulch. This will help protect the plant from the bitter cold of a harsh winter while allowing the plant to grow back quickly in early spring. After the last frost, clear some of the mulch away to allow the plant to grow freely.