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 the development will resume slightly with the autumn rains; to obtain excellent blooms every year, even in August and September, we can cultivate the Settembrini which, as the name implies, flourish precisely 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, due to their abundant flowering and ease of cultivation.
The term settembrini generally means the aster novae angliae and the Belgian novi; in fact, however, there are many varieties of stars with late summer and autumn bloom;
Aster novi Belgians
Aster novae angliae
Settembrini autumn asters
Asters are perennial, lively, herbaceous plants, 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 come from varieties from Asia and the American continent. It should be noted that there are huge differences between one cultivar and the other both in the habit and in the size. It will therefore be necessary to describe them individually. The cultivation methods, on the other hand, vary very little and therefore we can treat them together.
These are perennials of easy cultivation; they have a bushy development, which reaches 40-90 cm, depending on the species. The thin stems, woody or semi-woody, are densely branched and bear small deciduous leaves. The flowers are daisy-shaped, and count very many petals; in general the Settembrini are found in the shades of pink and lilac, but there are varieties of white flowers, with a yellow center. Each plant produces innumerable flowers, of medium size, producing large patches of color.
In general, in areas with cold winters, the aerial part dries up in winter, to begin to develop again from late spring.
These are less demanding plants, which grow in sunny or semi-shady places, and also adapt to the common garden soil. For always abundant blooms it is advisable to cultivate the stars in a good rich and well-drained soil, and to provide organic fertilizer at the end of spring.
Pests 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, the novi-belgii, is susceptible to mold and to mite attacks.
Usually they are affected during the summer, especially when hot and dry, from oidium: the most frequent effect is the desiccation of the basal leaves. It is only an aesthetic damage that can be disguised by including that part with other lower herbaceous ones: they do not cause such suffering that it seriously compromises the health of the plant.
Instead, it is necessary to intervene decisively if you notice the presence of mites. They cause an aesthetic damage in the flowers and the appearance of spots on the leaves. If the attack is mild, you can intervene with an acaricide. If the attack is serious, it will unfortunately be necessary to remove the specimen and carefully eliminate it. This is to prevent the parasite from spreading further into our garden. Unfortunately there are many other sensitive plants and could cause countless damage. Another real danger is the attacks of snails and snails during spring and summer. Unfortunately, these plants are among their favorite species, especially those that have little woody stems when they come up. If you are not careful, you can even lose specimens that would become large. It is therefore advisable to constantly spread lumachicidal baits in order to have continuous protection.
They are usually undemanding in this respect. They adapt to the most varied soils: from sandy to clayey. Certainly, however, in order to have the best results it is good to focus on an alkaline substrate, rich in organic matter and in any case quite heavy. To overcome the problems of water stagnation that could derive from this, it is always better to prepare a good draining layer both in the ground and in the pot.
The best time to buy and plant our September is undoubtedly the beginning of spring. Usually they do not suffer from transplant shocks, also thanks to the abundant rains that characterize those months. They are usually sold in small diameter jars. The insertion hole must be at least twice as large as the earthen bread. On the bottom it is good to prepare a thick layer of gravel and then one of mature manure or other organic soil conditioner. After a few handfuls of soil (to avoid direct contact between the roots and the fertilizer) you can insert the plant and the remaining substrate, compacting the area well. Irrigate abundantly. You may find bags with only the root of the plant for sale at fairs or even in shops (especially at the end of winter). It can be a good opportunity because usually small but lush plants are born. It is only necessary at least for the first year to let them grow in small jars and transfer them to their final position the following spring.
The definitive cultivation in pot can be carried out only in the case of cultivars with modest dimensions and in any case, since these are very vigorous plants, it will be necessary to use very large containers and frequent divisions. Let us 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 make sure that water does not stagnate is of vital importance.
The Settembrini undoubtedly prefer an exhibition in full sun-half shade. If the shadow is too thick, they can grow too spun or stunted and in any case, they will bloom little.
They are plants that love fresh soil and in fact their native habitat is the margin of mountain forests. These conditions can be achieved through the use of an adequate substrate and frequent watering, especially in spring. Please note however 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, however, it is rarely necessary to intervene, except sometimes during the summer (especially if it was very dry).
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 the spring. Every three months, from March to September, a slow release granular fertilizer can be distributed for flowering plants, with a high potassium content. This will stimulate the emission of many flower stems and accentuate the color of the "petals".
As with all vivacious plants, 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 rottenness (to reach the roots quickly). Furthermore we will 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 removing the stems to 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 ligatures will help to counteract the action of wind and rain. For settling and creeping settlements, it is always good to choose to plant them where there is a descent or where they can at least lengthen their branches a little. In this way they will be really appreciated to the fullest.
Multiplication and division
The multiplication of the Settembrini is rather simple. The method that gives the safest results is undoubtedly the division. Usually, being very vigorous plants, it should be done at the most every three to four years, otherwise the plant will 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 a few roots. For some time it is good to keep them in pots, then they can be moved to their homes. Sowing can be done in spring and is usually not complicated at all, to the point that some varieties by self-dissemination can also become invasive. The important thing is to place the seeds on a light mixture and keep them in a moist and bright environment until germination. The seedlings, when they reach about ten cm in height, should be cited so that the plant becomes better trimmed.
Aster amellus it has orderly and woody tufts, gray-green lance-shaped leaves, resistant to powdery mildew. The flowers are rather large and the colors range from lavender to intense pink. It wants full sun and rich, calcareous, but well-drained soil. There are also rather small varieties suitable for growing in pots. The height goes from 40 to 80 cm
Aster cordifolius it has sturdy woody tufts with heart-shaped leaves. The flower stems are very branched and bear small flowers, very numerous, usually lilac or white. It tolerates slight shade. Usually the final height is around 1.5 meters. Interesting cultivars are: Elegans, silver spray, sweet lavender.
Aster elicoides form of arched and very neat flower stems with lanceolate leaves. It has a late flowering. The 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 stars, esther, pink cloud, prostratus (creeping) snow flurry.
Aster laterifolius it has compact and vigorous tufts and the flower stems form a beautiful bush. The spring jets have a beautiful bronzed tone. The stems have horizontal lateral branches and carry innumerable small flowers. The central disk at the beginning is pale. Then it becomes 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 the autumn branch and carry many flowers, up to 4 cm usually fuchsia pink. It goes from 1 to 1.5 meters in height. They produce many seeds and need frequent divisions, as they see them bloom less and less. These plants are a bit messy and adapt well to the natural garden and less formal areas. Cultivar: Barr's blue, Barr's pink, violet's, purple cloud, purple dome, Hella Lacey.
Aster novi-belgii also called a. dumosus. Erect plant that blooms at the end of the summer carrying 5 cm heads on highly 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 be easily 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.
Trivia about the Settembrini
For the 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 Settembrini.
- 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 their courage and courage
- I settembrini they are one of the few species that are not eaten by deer, which do not bear the smell and pungent taste of the leaves
- In some areas the settembrini are also called San Michele daisies, due to their late September flowering period, when the famous saint is also celebrated
- It was once believed that burning the Settembrinis helped to drive away the snakes
- Settembrini are often associated with chrysanthemums, other beautiful flowers from this time of year
- There are over 600 species of Stars
The Settembrini, also called asters, are a pretty, very decorative plant. Their scientific name is Aster frikart
visit: September flowers