About Forked Aster: Though rare, this woodland aster can still be found occasionally in the midwestern region. Since it often fails to pollinate itself and produce seed, this plant’s existence has become threatened in many states and is listed in the Center for Plant Conservation’s National Collection of Endangered Plants. 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.
Forked Aster Germination: Direct sow the seed in late fall, planting it just under the surface and watering it once. If direct sown in the spring, the seed must be stratified first by mixing it with moist sand and stored in the refrigerator for 60 days. To start the stratified seed indoors, sow it in a flat; keep the soil evenly moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination, which should take place within 14-20 days. Transplant the seedlings after the last frost of spring, placing them 15-18” apart. Forked Asters prefer moist and or well drained soil, and do not tolerate shade.
Growing Forked Aster Seeds: This plant prefers moist soil, and will benefit from occasional watering. Forked Aster spreads almost exclusively by rhizomes, forming a colony over time if volunteer plants are not removed. Plants may need support or staking. Mature plants will benefit from division after two or three years of growth. These flowers attract bees and butterflies. Deer sometimes eat the foliage.
Harvesting Forked Aster: Asters make lovely cut flowers. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened.
Saving Forked Aster Seeds: This plant often fails to produce seed, since it does not easily pollinate itself.
Detailed Forked Aster Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Heart-Leaved Aster Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Late Summer-Fall Height: 24-30 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Woodland Soil Moisture: Wet to Medium USDA Zone: 4a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 24000 Produces a plant with oval, pointed leaves and flat topped clusters of ˝” white, daisy-like flowers.