To usher in September, let’s celebrate the aster flower.
It’s the flower of this month and in the language of flowers signifies wisdom, valor and faith.
The origin of the flower is believed to have been created from Virgo, the goddess of innocence, who is crying over the sins on earth. Her tears dissolve into stardust and are scattered over the earth. Where the stardust landed, asters started to bloom. Asters are also associated with Venus, the goddess of love.
In Latin, the flower means “star.”
It certainly is the star of any bouquet.
Part of the daisy family, it has an array of colors such as bright purple, fuchsia pink, tangerine orange and sunny yellow and is used not only in bouquets and arrangements but in gardens since it blooms through fall. We just like how fluffy it is with all the layers of petals in all shapes and sizes.
Plus like the carnation, it lasts a long time. That is why we love using them for bouquets. The colors also linger in fall which is why it is the September flower.
As Michele Terlidzi, the owner of Michael’s Nursery in Bedford, New York explains, the aster benefits from “thriving in cool weather adding to its popularity.” While other flowers are winding down, the aster is winding up with bursts of colors and blooms.
As she notes. the summer offers so many different flowers for the public to have affection for – roses, dahlias, echinacea, hydrangeas etc, but asters don’t have much competition for fall popularity. “People are so used to thinking of asters as part of fall and the colors are a bit darker as well,” she adds.
Fred Van Wingerden, the President of California-based Pyramid Flowers, says that “lavender” is now the most popular color followed by pink and purple. “Matsumoto asters also come in Hot Pink, apricot, white and yellow,” adds Wingerden, who has been a flower grower since 1979 with family flower growing roots dating back to the Netherlands in the 1600s.
In certain regions like the Northeast of the United States where pumpkins are part of the fall tradition, orange and yellow colors are especially popular. Other regions prefer the purples and pinks.
Plus whatever the color one chooses, asters are an easy plant to put either in the ground or in pots giving people the last gasp of summer leading into the fall.
Yes, you can grow asters in spring from seeds but it is a long wait. So much easier to buy an aster plant that comes in containers everywhere from supermarkets to nurseries starting in August. Because of high demand and popularity, they are also very reasonably priced.
Asters like to be planted in full sun and as you always hear, plant them in well-drained soil. Meaning that after you dig a hole, pour a little water into the hole. If the water is absorbed into the soil that means it is a good location.
Keep your new pantings moist and continue feeding the plant water until the blooms stop. Also don’t forget to deadhead the blooms once they wilt and become rusty in color.
Another tip: Do not water asters on top of the flowers and just pour water in like some other plants. Although they look sturdy, they don’t respond well and that encourages powdery mildew and other funky fungal diseases. Instead, just water at the base. Push the flowers to the side gently and give the soil at the roots a nice soak. Easy peasy.
And then just enjoy asters throughout September while you are thinking of what other flowers you will be planted throughout the month for the next spring season.
Asters really are the last gasp of color for gardens in the fall so appreciate every day with them.