Aster, Giants of California Callistephus
Aster's light, with its airy texture and large white, red, purple or pink flowers, make it a wonderful addition to the garden. Aster "Giants of California" are highly prized for their long slender stems which makes them perfect for cutting. When the flower is half-open; recut stems underwater. The fully double blooms are similar to the popular Ostrich series, have large shaggy flowers with contorted petals. Asters grow in all zones and flower from July until hard frost, even in light shade and poor soil.
While starting seeds of the Aster is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Aster seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position, but will still thrive in shade or with poor soil.
Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 12-18 inches Depth: 1/8 inch Germination: 15-21 days Starting from Seed Indoors
Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/8 inches of the potting mix. Mist each pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 15 to 21 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 2 to 3 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Dig holes twice the width and depth of each of your pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.
Direct-seeding into the Garden
Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/8 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 3 to 4 inches in rows approximately 12-18 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/8 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for Aster plants is approximately 15 to 21 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.
Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted. Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viabilty, seed storage and many others. We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors. Good luck.