Settembrini - Aster naovae-angliae

Settembrini - Aster naovae-angliae

During the summer months most of the garden perennials have exhausted their flowering, some even are already in vegetative rest, due to the heat, even if they will slightly resume development with the autumn rains; to get excellent blooms every year, even in August and September, we can cultivate the September which, as the name implies, bloom during the last weeks of summer, until the beginning of autumn. These are various species of Astri, also cultivated in the gardens of the last century, for their abundant flowering and ease of cultivation.


What species?

Generally the term settembrini means the aster novae angliae and the novi Belgians; in fact, however, there are many varieties of asters with late summer and autumn flowering;

Aster dumosus

Belgian aster novi

Aster novae angliae

Aster tripolium

Aster diffusus

Aster divaricatus

Aster tataricus


September autumn asters

Asters are perennial herbaceous, lively, very common in our gardens. They are appreciated for their ease of cultivation and the particularity of flowering in autumn. They are part of the Compositae family and have more than 250 species. Some are native to Europe, but the most decorative derive from varieties from Asia and the American continent. It should be noted that there are huge differences between one cultivar and another both in bearing and in size. It will therefore be necessary to describe them individually. The cultivation methods, however, vary very little and therefore we can treat them together.


Cultivation

These are perennials that are easy to grow; they have a bushy development, which reaches 40-90 cm, depending on the species. The thin, woody or semi-woody stems are densely branched and bear small deciduous leaves. The flowers are daisy, and have many petals; generally the September are found in shades of pink and lilac, but there are varieties with white flowers, with a yellow center. Each plant produces countless, medium-sized flowers, producing large patches of color.

In general, in areas with severe winters, the aerial part dries up in winter, to begin to develop again from late spring.

These are undemanding plants, which grow in sunny or semi-shady places, and also adapt to common garden soil. For always abundant blooms it is advisable to cultivate asters in a good rich and well drained soil, and to provide organic fertilizer at the end of spring.


Parasites and diseases

Generally these plants are not affected by pests or diseases. Almost all varieties are very resistant to insects and cryptogamic problems. Unfortunately, however, one of the most widespread, novi-belgii, is susceptible to mold and mite attacks.

They are usually affected during the summer, especially if hot and dry, by powdery mildew: the most frequent effect is the drying of the basal leaves. It is only an aesthetic damage that can be camouflaged by including that part with other lower herbaceous plants: they do not involve such suffering as to seriously compromise the health of the plant.

Instead, it is necessary to intervene decisively in case you notice the presence of mites. They cause aesthetic damage in the flowers and the appearance of spots on the leaves. If the attack is minor, it is possible to intervene with an acaricide. If the attack were serious, unfortunately, the removal of the specimen and its careful elimination will be necessary. This is to prevent the parasite from spreading further in our garden. Unfortunately there are many other sensitive plants and it could cause countless damage. Another real danger is the attacks of snails and slugs during the spring and summer. Unfortunately these plants are among their favorites, especially those that have little woody stems when sprouting. If you do not pay attention you really risk losing even specimens that would become large. It is therefore advisable to constantly spread snail baits in order to have continuous protection.


Ground

They are usually undemanding in this respect. They adapt to the most varied soils: from sandy to clayey. Certainly, however, to have the best results, it is good to focus on an alkaline substrate, rich in organic matter and in any case rather heavy. To remedy the problems of water stagnation that could derive from it, it is always better, both in the ground and in pots, to prepare a good draining layer.


Planting

The best time to buy and plant our September is undoubtedly the beginning of spring. They usually do not suffer transplant shock, also thanks to the abundant rains that characterize those months. They are usually sold in small diameter jars. The hole for the insertion must be at least double the size of the earthen bread. On the bottom it is good to prepare a thick layer of gravel and then a layer of mature manure or other organic soil conditioner. After a few handfuls of soil (to avoid direct contact between the roots and the fertilizer), the plant and the remaining substrate can be inserted, compacting the area well. Irrigate abundantly. It may happen to find bags with only the root of the plant on sale at fairs or even in shops (especially at the end of winter). It can be a good opportunity because usually small but lush seedlings are born. It is only necessary at least for the first year to grow them in small jars and transfer them to their final position the following spring.


Cultivation in pots

The definitive cultivation in pots can be carried out only in the case of cultivars of modest size and in any case, since these are very vigorous plants, it will be necessary to use very large containers and frequent divisions. Remember to use a compound that is not too light and peaty. The ideal is half garden soil and half good commercial soil. As always, ensuring that the water does not stagnate is of vital importance.


Exposure

The September days undoubtedly prefer full sun-partial shade exposure. If the shade is too dense, they can grow too spun or stunted and in any case bloom little.


Irrigation

They are plants that love fresh soil and in fact their habitat of origin is the edge of the mountain woods. These conditions can be obtained through the use of an adequate substrate and frequent irrigation, especially in spring. However, we specify that these are particularly necessary in the Center-South where temperatures are quite high already from April and rainfall can be scarce. In the North and in the Alpine and Apennine areas, on the other hand, it is rarely necessary to intervene, if not sometimes during the summer (especially if it were very dry).


Fertilization

If we want to stimulate the growth and flowering of our September it is good to sprinkle a few handfuls of good pelleted or powdered manure in spring. Every three months, from March to September, a slow release granular fertilizer for flowering plants, with a high potassium content, can be distributed. This will stimulate the emission of many flower stems and accentuate the color of the "petals".


Special care

As with all vivacious, the stems dry out during the winter. Some prefer to cut them already at the end of autumn: in my opinion it is better to wait for the plant to complete its cycle independently. It will be avoided that with the rains the stems can be attacked by rot (to quickly reach the roots). We will also be able to enjoy their vision during the cold season, perhaps with splendid frost deposits. Towards March it will then be good to proceed by eliminating the stems at a height of about 5-10 cm. Another important precaution, for tall specimens, is the adoption of solid supports inserted deep into the ground. Some of these plants, over time, can reach two meters in height with lots of flowers. The weight will therefore be considerable. The help of various braces and solid bindings will help to counteract the action of the wind and rain. For falling and creeping September it is always good to choose to plant them where there is a descent or where they can at least stretch their branches a little in the void. In this way they will be truly enhanced.


Multiplication and division

The multiplication of September is quite simple. The method that gives the safest results is undoubtedly the division. Usually, being very vigorous plants, it should be done at the latest every three to four years, on pain of seeing the plant bloom less. It should be done in autumn (after the end of the blooms) or in early spring. It is necessary to extract the head from the ground and divide it into sections, each with some roots. For some time it is good to keep them in pots, then they can be transferred to the home. Sowing can be done in spring and is usually not complicated at all, to the point that some varieties for self-dissemination can even become invasive. The important thing is to place the seeds on a light mixture and keep them in a humid and bright environment until germination. The seedlings, when they reach about ten cm in height, must be topped so that the plant becomes better branched.


VARIETY'

Aster amellus it has neat and woody tufts, gray-green lanceolate leaves, resistant to powdery mildew. The flowers are quite large and the colors range from lavender to deep pink. It wants full sun and rich, calcareous, but well-drained soil. There are also quite small varieties suitable for growing in pots. The height ranges from 40 to 80 cm

Aster cordifolius it has woody and robust tufts with heart-shaped leaves. The flower stems are very ramified and bear small flowers, very numerous, usually lilac or white. Tolerates light shade. Usually the final height is around 1.5 meters. Interesting cultivars are: Elegans, silver spray, sweet lavender.

Aster elicoides forms arched and very neat floral stems with lanceolate leaves. It has late flowering. Flower heads are small and in groups of 20, white, pink or purple. The height is very variable, from 30 to 90 cm. There are also creeping cultivars. Interesting cultivars: blue star, esther, pink cloud, prostratus (creeping) snow flurry.

Aster laterifolius it has compact and vigorous tufts and the flower stems form a beautiful bush. Spring shoots have a beautiful bronzed hue. The stems have horizontal lateral branches and carry countless small flowers. The central disc is pale at first. Then it turns deep pink. They want full sun. The most interesting cultivars are Horizontalis, Jan and Lady in Black, Prince.

Aster novae-angliae it has woody and very vigorous tufts with lanceolate leaves. The stems in autumn branch and bear many flowers, up to 4 cm usually fuchsia pink. It ranges from 1 to 1.5 meters in height. They produce a lot of seeds and need frequent divisions on pain of seeing them bloom less and less. They are somewhat messy plants and adapt well to the natural garden and less formal areas. Cultivar: Barr's blue, Barr's pink, barr's violet, purple cloud, purple dome, Hella Lacey.

Aster novi-belgii also called a. dumosus. Upright plant that blooms in late summer with 5 cm flower heads on very branched stems. The typical color is purple, but there are also pinks and whites. They want rich, moist soil and need to be divided very frequently. Unfortunately, they can easily be affected by powdery mildew and mites and therefore require constant monitoring. The height is very variable: from 30 cm to almost 2 meters. Cultivar: Audrey, blue gown, Fair lady, lady in blue, Marie Ballard, Snowsprite.


Curiosities about Settembrini

For true lovers of this species and for all those who are attracted by curious news and details, here are some things that not everyone knows about September.

- First of all the Latin name, aster, means star

- The French soldiers used this flower and in general the stars to celebrate the fallen in battle who had distinguished themselves for courage and audacity

- I. September they are one of the few species that are not eaten by deer, which cannot stand the scent and pungent taste of the leaves

- In some areas, September are also called daisies of San Michele, due to their flowering period in late September, a period in which the famous saint is also celebrated

- It was once believed that burning September helped ward off snakes

- September are often associated with chrysanthemums, other beautiful flowers of this time of year

- There are over 600 species of Astri



Video: New England Aster: Medicinal