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When summer comes to an end, and the days get shorter, there are few plants that continue to cheer up the garden; at this time of year, which heralds autumn, the Settembrinis begin the period of greatest development, producing huge clouds of colorful flowers. These are plants that are easy to grow and are also widely used as cut flowers; their flowers, typically pink or lilac, can also be white, yellow, dark purple, fuchsia; in fact there are numerous hybrids and cultivar varieties, selected for large or double flowers or of particular color.
How the stars are cultivated
Most Settembrini are rhizomatous perennial plants, their roots are resistant to heat and cold and, although for most of the winter the aerial part dries up, each spring from the roots new stems and new leaves rise. They prefer sunny positions, and generally tend to bear even non-ideal cultivation conditions; there are many species that are called Settembrini, most of them are very rustic plants, which do not create particular problems.
At the beginning of spring they begin to produce thin, quite branched stems, which bear small glabrous leaves, sometimes slightly fleshy; since they begin to sprout it is advisable to avoid leaving the soil completely dry for very long periods of time, even if the stars can easily withstand short periods of drought.
To plant them we choose a plot in the sun, with medium-textured soil; they tend to develop also in the common garden soil, even if a good rich soil, periodically fertilized, will produce more vigorous and floriferous plants.
After flowering, we cut the semi-bushy species at about 15 cm from the ground, so that over the years they tend to produce very elongated tufts, completely bare at the bottom.
We avoid placing them in areas with permanently wet soil, or watering them excessively, which would favor the development of fungal diseases, which attack the rhizomes and the collar.
We can plant small plants purchased in the nursery, or, at the beginning of spring, we can sow the stars we prefer, to get new plants quickly; generally the stars that have a better seed development are those belonging to annual species. If you have kept the seeds of the stars of the previous year it is not said that you will get plants with flowers identical to those of which you have taken the seeds, because many plants on the market are hybrids.
Where to place them
The asters belong to very many species, some have a fairly contained development, and do not exceed 25-35 cm in height, others instead rise even to 100-120 cm from the ground; when we plant our Settembrini family we take into account the final height they will reach in August, before they bloom, to avoid placing very tall plants as a border, or other similar errors.
We also remember that many species do not have a compact and elegant appearance, rather they give rise to quite informal shrubs, suitable for a spot of color in the background or for a flowerbed of aromatic plants.
If desired it is also possible to grow them in pots, especially if they are plants with compact growth; in this case let's remember to water only when the soil is dry, and to fertilize with regularity, to avoid that the roots remain without water and without mineral salts.
Astro - Aster: Settembrini species
There are many species of plants called Settembrino; once all these plants were classified as belonging to the genus Astro. For some twenty years many species have been included in other genera, however all belonging to the Asteraceae family.
Among the species of European origin, most belong to the Aster genus; these are Aster amellus, Aster tataricus, Aster tripolium, Aster springlei, to name only the most famous.
The asters of Chinese origin, often annual and generally with stradoppi flowers, sometimes spherical, belong to the Callistephus genus.
Most of the stars from North America now belong to the genus Oreostemma and Symphyotricum.