This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
This is the parent of the florist's China Aster. It is a half-hardy Chinese annual 1-2 ft. high, with rigid roughly hairy stems, ovate toothed leaves, and large beautiful mauve-purple flower heads, 2-4 inches across with a conspicuous yellow centre. There are many varieties, single and semi-double, of various shades, but not one equals in beauty the true species itself. As a market flower it is valuable, and good blooms sell freely during the season. They should be cut with the stems as long as possible and made up in bunches of a dozen. Stood in water for an hour or two after cutting, the flowers travel well and last a long time. The plants are easily raised from seed sown in February or March, the seedlings being pricked out about two dozen in a shallow box to be ready for planting out in May. The plants may also be sold in the same way as the China Aster.