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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Aster Flower Essentials: How to Grow in Pots, Varieties, Meanings and Growing Tips

Updated: Mar 3

Are you planning to grow aster flower in pots? Learn the keys to nurturing these starry blooms and the symbolism they carry. Our guide details essential cultivation tips and unpacks the meanings behind the colors – all you need to get started on your aster flower journey.



purple aster flower with yellow centre


Key Takeaways


  • Asters are perennial flowers with rich history and varied symbolism and are especially significant as September's birth flower. They are appreciated for their star-shaped appearance and come in vibrant colors, each bearing its meaning, such as trust for blue and affection for pink.

  • Growing asters in pots requires well-drained soil with slight acidity, adequate sunlight, and careful watering to prevent moisture-related diseases. Fertilizer should be balanced with phosphorus and potassium to encourage full blooms.

  • Beyond their decorative use, asters have culinary and medicinal applications; they can enhance salads or treat health conditions. Asters need regular water changes, appropriate stem trimming, and calm, shaded display areas to extend their beauty when cut.




Discovering the Aster: A Star Among Flowers


Asters are a delight to behold with their beautiful blooms and vibrant colored petals. Their name derives from the Greek word 'aster,' meaning 'star,’' perfectly capturing their star-shaped flower form. These flowers hold a special place in history and mythology, associated with love in Ancient Rome, independence during the Hungarian Revolution of 1918, and even the Christian holiday of Michaelmas.


Moreover, they're known for their diverse symbolism, spreading messages of love, wisdom, elegance, and grace across cultures. Trendy are the blue flowers, such as blue asters, symbolizing trustworthiness, faithfulness, and loyalty.


The Starry Shape of Asters


Asters' starry shape offers both visual delight and intriguing structural features. The central disk of the flower head is surrounded by longer ray flowers, creating a unique star-like form. A regular aster flower usually sports five petals, but certain varieties, like the alpine Aster, boast beautiful blooms up to 25 cm tall.


This star-like shape aligns with its name 'aster,' borrowed from the Greek word 'aster,' meaning 'star.' This adds another layer of charm to these captivating flowers.


A Floral Emblem of September


Asters hold particular significance in September, thus known as this month's birth flower. Their deep symbolism, linked to love, wisdom, patience, and beauty, made them famous for various celebrations during this time. Dwarf aster varieties, with their compact size and beautiful blooms, are commonly used in wedding bouquets, event decorations, and seasonal arrangements.


New England and New York asters, celebrated for their vibrant colors and distinctive yellow centers, are famous for September festivities.


Unraveling the Aster Genus: Taxonomy and Types



variety of different shades of purple aster flowers


The aster genus has undergone significant taxonomic changes over time. Once classified as Aster, several species have been moved to different genera. For instance, the Aromatic Aster is now known as Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, and the New England Aster is now classified as Symphyotrichum novae-angle. These changes mirror asters' diverse traits and varieties, with New England and New York varieties, known for their vibrant colors and distinctive yellow centers, standing out.


True Asters and Their Relatives


Distinguishing true asters from their relatives isn't always straightforward, but their unique flower structure offers a clue. True asters mainly thrive in:


  • Africa

  • Southeastern Asia

  • New Zealand

  • Australia

Native species, such as Aster alpinus in North America, are also considered valid aster species.


These asters link us to the original species of Europe and Asia, but their familial connections spread beyond the Aster genus, covering over 1,900 genera and 23,600 species within the Asteraceae family.



From Eurasia to North America: Asters' Global Journey


Asters embarked on a significant journey from Eurasia to North America, reshaping their taxonomy. This once-off migration from the Southern Hemisphere led to the realization that North American asters weren't closely related to their Eurasian counterparts, prompting the creation of new classifications.


This journey highlights asters' adaptability and ability to flourish in diverse environments, including a perennial garden.


The Vibrant Palette of Asters: Color Meanings and Symbolism


The vibrant palette of asters is more than just a feast for the eyes. Each color carries its symbolism, adding depth to the beauty of these flowers. The captivating purple asters symbolize royalty, dignity, and admiration, whereas pink asters denote innocence, love, and affection.


Red asters, on the other hand, embody eternal love, devotion, and romantic passion.


Blue Purple Flowers: Trust and Wisdom


Blue and purple asters, besides being striking, carry rich symbolism. Blue asters represent:

  • Trustworthiness

  • Faithfulness

  • Loyalty

  • Trust

This makes them ideal for conveying messages of reliability and loyalty.


On the other hand, Purple asters carry associations of wisdom, royalty, spontaneity, and fun, adding a whimsical touch to your flower garden or bouquet.


White Flowers: Innocence and Purity


White asters epitomize innocence and purity. In Christianity, they symbolize the Virgin Mary, while in China, they represent fidelity and wisdom. Beyond these cultural contexts, they've symbolized new beginnings, hope, and motherhood, making them popular for weddings and baby showers.


Pink and Red Blooms: Love and Affection


Pink and red asters, with their warm hues, evoke sentiments of love, affection, and passion. Pink asters, symbolizing innocence, love, and affection, make a lovely gift for someone special, while red asters represent unwavering devotion and intense love. These color meanings make pink and red asters ideal symbols of love and affection.



Cultivating Beauty: How to Grow and Care for Asters in Pots


Growing asters in pots may seem challenging, but with the right knowledge, it's entirely doable. Proper planting, adequate sunlight, well-drained soil, and regular care are the pillars of cultivating these beautiful blooms successfully.


We'll explore these aspects, arming you with the knowledge to cultivate asters in pots.


Planting Asters in Pots


Considering the type of pot and soil is a vital step when planting asters in pots. Opt for a pot filled with lightweight, moisture-retentive potting soil enriched with fertilizer to provide a well-draining foundation. The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5.

As for planting depth, ensure the roots are loosely filled in, with the top of the soil one to two inches below the lip of the container.


Sunlight and Soil Requirements


Sunlight and soil play fundamental roles in aster growth. These flowers require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily to flourish. The soil should be moist but well-drained and loamy. If you're planting in pots, use potting soil mixed with compost to ensure good drainage.


Maintaining a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and keeping the soil moderately moist will keep your asters thriving.


Watering and Caring for Your Asters


Maintaining healthy aster plants requires regular watering and care. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


  • Water your asters once a week, preferably in the morning.

  • Allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings to prevent moisture-related diseases.

  • Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot, mold, mildew, and stunt growth.

  • Balance the watering to ensure the right amount of moisture for your asters.


By following these guidelines, you can help your aster plant thrive.


In addition to watering, asters require balanced flower fertilizer, phosphorus, potassium, and acidic soil conditions to ensure robust development and blooming.



Combating Challenges: Pests and Diseases Affecting Asters



white aster flowers with yellow center

Like any other plant, Aster can encounter pests and diseases. Aphids are the primary pest that can affect aster flowers, while powdery mildew is a common fungal issue. Recognizing these challenges and understanding how to manage them can ensure the healthy growth of your aster plants.


Fighting Off Aphids and Other Insects


Aphids can cause significant harm to your aster plants, causing the following symptoms:


  • Twisted and curled leaves

  • Yellowing

  • Stunted or Deadshot

  • Overall, poor plant growth

To maintain plant health, it is critical to identify and control aphids and other insects.


You can manage these pests by introducing natural predators, such as ladybirds or hoverfly larvae, or using organic pesticides, such as a soap-and-water mixture or neem oil.


Preventing Powdery Mildew and Fungal Issues


Powdery mildew thrives in low light, moderate temperatures, and high humidity, making it a common issue for asters. Improving air circulation, avoiding overwatering, and applying safe fungicides are strategies to prevent and treat powdery mildew and other fungal problems.


By managing these conditions, you can keep your asters healthy and disease-free.


Asters in Design: Pairing with Other Flowers and Uses



lilac aster flower with pink center


Asters have many uses and benefits, including:


  • Amplifying the beauty of other flowers in floral arrangements

  • Adding vibrant colors and unique structure to bouquets

  • Culinary uses, such as adding petals to salads or using them as a garnish

  • Medicinal uses, including treating respiratory conditions and digestive issues

England asters are a great addition to any garden or floral arrangement with their versatility and beauty.


Creating Harmonious Bouquets


To create a harmonious aster bouquet, you must select complementary or contrasting flowers and achieve a balance of colors and textures. Asters go great with delicate flowers like baby's breath and lavender and bolder blooms like sunflowers and roses. Creating a beautiful, balanced arrangement requires considering balance, dominance, contrast, rhythm, proportion, and scale.



Asters Beyond the Vase: Culinary and Medicinal Uses


Asters extend their appeal beyond beauty, boasting culinary and medicinal uses. Their edible petals can be added to teas or salads for a unique flavor and pop of color. In traditional medicine, dried asters make teas or tinctures that help with headaches, enhance kidney function, and aid with blood circulation issues.


Caring for Cut Asters: Tips to Extend Their Beauty


While cut asters can enliven any space, they necessitate proper care to prolong their vase life and preserve their beauty. Regular water changes, appropriate stem trimming, and display in a cool, shaded area can help prolong their freshness and prevent wilting.


Maximizing Vase Life


Regular water changes are crucial in extending the vase life of cut asters. Here are some tips to help you prolong their freshness:


  1. Use warm water to help the flowers absorb it more efficiently.

  2. Trim the stems on a slant and treat them with a suitable pretreatment to improve water uptake.

  3. Strip all the leaves from the bottom half to two-thirds of each stem to prevent decay.

Arrangement and Display


A well-thought-out arrangement and display of cut asters enhances their beauty and prevents wilting. Arranging the taller stems in the center for support and shorter stems around the perimeter creates a balanced and attractive display.


Displaying the arrangement in a cool, shaded area can prolong the freshness of the flowers and prevent wilting.



Summary


In conclusion, asters are more than just pretty flowers. Their diverse colors, rich symbolism, and unique structure make them stand out among other flowers. Whether you're looking to add a touch of beauty to your garden, create a stunning floral arrangement, or explore their culinary and medicinal uses, asters are a versatile choice that can bring joy and charm to any occasion.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do asters come back every year?


Yes, asters are perennial flowers that can come back year after year, bringing their cheery blooms to your garden in the late summer and early autumn.


What month do asters bloom?


Asters bloom from August through October, depending on the variety and climate. They are suitable for pollinators and attract late-season bees and butterflies.


What does the aster flower symbolize?


Aster flowers symbolize love, wisdom, faith, and color, and in Greek mythology, they were placed on altars for the gods, becoming a symbol of love.



What is the spiritual meaning of the name aster?


The name "Aster" carries the spiritual meanings of "star" and "flower." Greek mythology is linked to concepts of innocence, justice, and purity.


How often should I water my aster plants?


Water your aster plants once a week, ideally in the morning. This will help them thrive and stay healthy.

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