Callistephus is from Greek kallos meaning ‘beautiful’ and stephos, ‘crown.’ The China Aster began its journey west around 1730 when a Jesuit missionary noticed it growing in a field near Beijing. Wildly popular by 1883 when Burpee listed 19 different classes of them compared to two each of marigold and zinnia. Good bedding plants or cutflowers.
Culture: Sow indoors at 70–72° in late winter, transplant after danger of frost. Cut stems when 2–4 flowers have opened. Vase life is 5–7 days, longer if you use a floral preservative. Aster Yellows is a serious disease problem. Use floating row covers to keep out leafhoppers, the vector. ~450 seeds/g.
All flowers are annuals except where noted. All flowers are open-pollinated except where noted.
Days in parentheses after a variety indicate days to first bloom.