Aster

Aster meaning ‘star’ in Latin, prefer well-drained, fertile soil in full sun. Mulch in late autumn. Dig up and divide in the spring, if they are getting too congested. This 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, good for cut flower arrangement.

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 'Single Giant'

Aster 'Lady in Blue'

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'

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

Coriander

Cress

Cucumber

Forget-me-not

Ornamental pepper

Tomato

Outside

Alyssum

Amaranthus

Antwerp hollyhock, Fig-leaved hollyhock, hollyhock

Aster

Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia

Basil, Sweet basil, Common basil

Beet, Beetroot, Chard

Beetroot, Garden beet

Borecole, Kale

Bristly hollyhock

Broccoli

Cabbage

Candytuft

Cardoon

Carrot

Cauliflower

Celery

Common hollyhock

Cornflower

Courgette

Delphinium

French bean, fine bean

Hollyhock

Italian beetroot, Beetroot, Garden beet

Kohl rabi

Lettuce

Love-in-a-mist

Marrow

Nasturtium

Normandy sorrel

Ornamental winter kale

Radish

Runner bean

Spinach

Spinach, Summer spinach

Spring onion

Sweet corn

Sweet pea

Swiss chard, Ruby chard, Rhubard chard

Turnip

Outside under cover

Cucumber

Sweet corn