About New York Aster: This colorful aster originates in the Mid-Atlantic region, springing up in marshy ground, shoreland, or wet meadow areas. Its Latin name, “novi-belgii,” means New Belgium, a historical name for the state of New York. This variety has also been referred to as a “Michaelmas daisy” because of its blossoming around the time of the feast of St. Michael on September 29. German botanist Paul Hermann first catalogued this species in 1687, and it was being widely grown in gardens by the beginning of the eighteenth century. 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.
New York 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 18-24” apart. This plant prefers full sun and well drained soil, but also tolerates sandy soil or clay.
Growing New York Aster Seeds: This plant grows best with regular watering, especially in dry weather. A layer of mulch will help control weeds and conserve moisture. For bushy, compact growth, prune the plants early in the season before they bud. These asters spread by rhizomes and by reseeding, forming a colony over time if volunteer plants are not removed. Mature plants will benefit from division after two or three years of growth. The flowers attract numerous bees and butterflies, providing a valuable source of nectar in late fall.
Harvesting New York Aster: Asters make lovely cut flowers. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened.
Saving New York Aster Seeds: After flowering, the plant will produce seed heads containing small clusters of seed with white fluff. Since sparrows and goldfinches love to eat the seed, harvest it promptly to avoid loss. Cut the mature seed heads, or shake them into a container to remove the seed material. Clean the seed as well as possible, then store it in a cool, dry place.
Detailed New York Aster Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Michaelmas Daisy Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Fall Height: 36-48 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 60,000 Produces a plant with narrow pointed leaves and abundant, daisy-like flowers that vary from pink to purple with yellow centers.