The Double China Aster, now known as the German Aster, has, within a few years, been very much improved and perfected by the German florists, and others, so that it is hardly to be recognized as the same flower as the old China Aster of the flower-garden. The varieties are now very numerous, and possess exceeding beauty, some of them being almost as large as a small Dahlia, and much more graceful. The full-quilled varieties are the most highly esteemed, having a hemispherical shape, either a pure white, clear blue, purple, rose, or deep red; or beautifully mottled, striped, or edged, with those colors, or having a red or blue centre. They are also of various habits; some dwarf, others taller, some spreading, and others growing erect and very much branched. Seeds, sown in the fall of the year, produce early flowers; but they come too early in bloom and are not so perfect as those coming into flower about the first of September.
My practice is to sow the seeds the last of May, in patches, and transplant to a bed well prepared the last of June. The plants should stand a foot apart; but there being some uncertainty as to the character of the flower, although the seed may have been the very best, I put out two or three plants near each other, and when they begin to flower, cut out those that are inferior, and leave those only that are perfect. In this way alone can the character of the flower be kept up. Otherwise, they will soon degenerate into inferior flowers.