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Asters dying?

medomagemedomage Posts: 20

I have two asters in pots, both in full sun. One is in the front garden, the other in the back. They are in soil that was/is not soggy. I followed guidance online in terms of placement/soil and haven't over-watered them. They did well when I planted them last year and then faded as I would expect them to. I didn't do anything additional to them over winter (e.g., pruning, watering).

However, I'm not sure if they're actually dead now, they look very 'twiggy' and the ends snap easily. Should I prune them?How can I tell if they're still alive? Advice online says they do ok in pots but maybe I was mistaken. I haven't had luck in the past with them so I'm a little paranoid now (I had an aster the year before that never came back, but I assumed that was because I didn't use the correct soil and the pot was in a shady spot). 



  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,316
    @medomage As long as they have'nt  been too soggy or too dry, I think it is possible that it is still a little early to see much growth.
    They do need sunshine and a retentive soil I think they would be better in the ground than a pot.
    You could carefully tip them out and check the roots but at this time of year there won't be a lot to see unless they have been eaten. You could prune the twigs if you want to all new growth will come from underground. Each small piece will make a plant that will flower in the autumn so they have a lot too do in a season.

    Looking forward to my new garden with clay soil here in South Notts.

    Gardening is so exciting I wet my plants. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    Mine is showing some small amounts of growth, but it's in a raised bed and it's been very mild. I cut back the twiggy stems to stop them poking me in the eye, but I leave around 6 to 10 inches on them. 
    They aren't great as pot specimens IMO, unless they have enough suitable care. They may well have got dried out completely, or conversely, they may have been waterlogged depending on your climate and the general site they're in. 
    I think it might be worth tipping them out as already said, and see what they look like.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,126
    The old stems from last year die back to dead sticks and can be cut off right down to the base. If they're still alive, they should grow new leaves and eventually flowering stems from ground level. Give them another month or so before you write them off. My Aster Little Carlow has started growing but Lady in Red not yet. Some are later than others. If they are alive, they'll be happier in the ground if you can find a space for them.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • medomagemedomage Posts: 20
    edited April 2022
    Hi all, thank you so much for the advice and apologies for the delay in replying.

    They all now look like this, so very unhappy/dead! This is in spite of watering. I tipped them out but couldn't see much from the roots.

    The big guy pictured has fresh growth at the bottom, so I will prune it to the base, but the other two smaller ones are done I think. Next time I'll put them in the ground. 

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,316
    @medomage If yoy have some small pieces that are alive it is worth planting in a small pot and giving it a go. They will grow from very small pieces.
    Looking forward to my new garden with clay soil here in South Notts.

    Gardening is so exciting I wet my plants. 
  • medomagemedomage Posts: 20
    @GardenerSuze Thank you, will do!
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Be aware that slugs love the young growing tips and may have eaten them before you could even see them. With a bad attack, the plant just runs out of energy and dies.
    I think the one in a pot needs a much bigger container.
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