About Sky Blue Aster: Sky Blue Aster adapts well to almost any area, from swamps to woodlands or prairies. This species formerly had the rather intimidating Latin name “Symphyotrichum oolentangiense,” indicating the Ohio’s Olentangy River where botanist John Leonard Riddell discovered it in 1835. Originally from the Greek language, “aster” means “star.” At one time, asters were called starworts, frost flowers, or Michaelmas daisies; in spite of their daisy-like petals, asters are actually diminutive members of the sunflower family. In the language of flowers, these starry blossoms symbolize elegance or daintiness. They make a traditional gift for birthdays in the month of September, or for 20th wedding anniversaries.
Sky Blue Aster Germination: In late fall, direct sow the seed 1/4” deep in dry to medium soil and full sun. This plant also adapts well to moist, sandy, or clay soil. For spring planting, stratify the seed by mixing it with moist sand and storing it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks before direct sowing. To start the plants indoors, stratify the seeds, then sow two or three seeds each in small peat pots ¼” deep. Keep the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 70-75 degrees F until germination, which should take place within 10-14 days. Thin to the strongest seedling, and transplant 15-18” apart after the last spring frost.
Growing Sky Blue Aster Seeds: Because this plant adapts well to either drought or moisture, watering is optional. Sky Blue Aster grows rather slowly, and may not produce flowers until its second year of growth. Mature plants may be divided. This plant will self seed unless the wilted flowers are removed. Bees and butterflies are attracted to these flowers.
Harvesting Sky Blue Aster: For fresh flowers, cut the stems of blossoms that are about half open; change the water often for a vase life of 7-10 days. For dried flowers, bundle the stems and hang them upside down in a dark, warm place until dry.
Saving Sky Blue Aster Seeds: After the first hard frost or when the flowers stop blooming, the seed heads will begin to form. Since small birds love to eat the seed, harvest the fluffy seed material promptly to avoid loss. Cut the entire top of the plant, or shake it into a container to collect the seed. Clean the seed as well as possible, and store it in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Sky Blue Aster Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Azure Aster, Prairie Heart-leaf Aster Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Fall Height: 24-36 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 4a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 80,000 Produces a plant with pointed, narrow leaves and 1” lavender to blue flowers with yellow centers.