Everything You Need to Know About Aster Flowers

Aster flowers are an enchanting perennial loved for their colorful hues and elegant style. They also carry deep meaning and symbolism spanning numerous cultures over the past few centuries and are as popular as ever today in gardens and floral design. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Aster flower meaning, their history and origins, the most popular Aster varieties, as well as our top tips for gifting and caring for these beautiful flowers. 


What Do Asters Flowers Symbolize?

Aster flowers symbolize love, wisdom, patience, faith, elegance, and beauty. Each variety of color will carry its own deep symbolism, from nobility to friendship and even purity. 


About the Aster Flower

About the Aster Flower

Once upon a time, there used to be well over 600 species of Aster that were native to Eurasia and North America. After a little research conducted in the 1990s, it was determined that the North American species were better classified under the genera Almutaster. That left us with approximately 180 true genuine Aster species today. Despite the changes, many varieties that are grown throughout the New and Old World still go by the name of ‘Aster’ or “Michaelmas daisies” today. 

Kingdom:Plantae
Botanical Name:Symphyotrichum
Type/Species:Aster amellus
Family:Asteraceae
Tribe:Astriae
Genus:Aster
Popular Aster Flower Varieties and Hybrids

There’s a wide selection of aster varieties to pick from today covering a diverse and interesting color profile. They’re famed for their range of purple hues, but there are lots of options for those partial to softer pinks, whites, and blue tones. Some of the most popular varietals include: 

  • New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) 
  • New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii) 
  • Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius) 
  • Lava Aster (Aster scopulorum) 
  • Siberian Aster (Aster sibiricus) 
  • Korean Aster (Aster koraiensis) 
  • White Wood Aster (Aster divaricatus) 
  • Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius) 
  • White Wood Aster (Aster divaricatus) 
  • Smooth Aster (Aster laevis) 
  • Beggarten (Aster tongolensis) 
  • Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’

Characteristics of the Aster Flowering Plant

Characteristics of the Aster Flowering Plant

Aster is a genus of herbaceous perennial flowering plants that have late-season blooms. This type of plant has groups of flowers, also known as heads, that sit within a small basket of surrounding leaves. The colorful blooms vary from white and yellow to pastel pinks, blues, purples, while some varieties are vibrant and contain vivid hues.

They grow in a bush-like fashion and can be anywhere from one to six feet in height, while their width can be one to four feet total. How large asters grow will depend on the variety since they are quite diverse. These plants also grow well in pots for those looking to keep them contained. 

The Chinese aster variety is native to China and comes in various colors similar to other species. They differ slightly in shape and petal arrangement and carry other hues like peach, yellow, and cream in addition to the whites, pinks, purples, reds, and blues. 

Blooms and Bee-Friendliness

Pollinators like bees and butterflies love these abundant flowers since they are late-season bloomers and provide necessary pollen and nectar for them later in the year. While other garden flowers have died off, asters continue to bloom well into the fall, making them necessary for pollinating insects. 

Growth & Toxicity

Typically, aster flowers bloom from August through until the first frost, usually in late October or November. Some varieties could have blooms in early spring, but they are not representative of the majority of asters. 

They fare well in numerous USDA plant hardiness zones across the country, including zone 3 to zone 8, but can thrive in zones 9 and 10, depending on other factors. Asters prefer full sunlight with cooler temperatures. The surrounding soil should be kept moist and have ample drainage. 

Asters are not toxic to family pets or humans and are edible in various ways. They have medicinal properties that many people have found helpful in the past, including treating headaches and constipation. 

Historical Facts of Aster Flowers

Historical Facts of Aster Flowers

One known fact about these cheerful blossoms is that Thomas Jefferson took a liking to the China aster varieties, cultivating them on his estate. Asters have also been noted in books, including The Flower Garden from 1851. 

The Hungarian Revolution on October 31, 1918, is also known as the Aster Revolution. This is because of the Budapest protestors who donned this flower. Wearing this flower in their hats, these individuals helped to seize public buildings in Budapest. 

Of course, that was long after asters became part of Greek mythology, in a way shaping history themselves. 

Etymological Meaning

The Aster flower name comes from the Greek word ἀστήρ (astḗr), which translates to Aster in English. Aster means star-like and is fitting since the multi-colored aster flower blooms resemble stars. 


Uses & Benefits of Aster Flowers

Uses and Benefits of Aster Flowers

It is relatively common for populations worldwide to have used plants and flowers for a variety of reasons throughout time. Several uses, including medicinal, dietary, and ornamental, have occurred in many cultures and continue even today. 

Medicinal

One prime example of a medicinal plant is the New England aster. Research suggests that this late-blooming plant is beneficial for the lungs and aids in respiratory health. Individuals who have chronic lung conditions, like asthma, or those battling a cold, will find relief with a tincture made from this flower. 

Some civilizations used the aster plant to treat venereal disease. Chinese medicine, along with other cultures, have been using the aster root for centuries in various ways. The root aids in minimizing headache pain and can help work as a laxative. Other ailments, including hangovers and epilepsy, have been treated with the use of this flowering plant. 

Dietary

Both leaves and flowering tops of the aster plant are edible and can be used in salads as greens or as a garnish. Several parts of the entire plant, including root, leaves, and flowers, can be made into tea or tincture. 

Aster Tattoos in Modern Culture

Because of its deep-rooted meaning from the Greek culture, the aster flower can be prevalent in many tattoos symbolizing love. In modern culture, it is the birth flower of September and can represent when the individual was born. 


Aster Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Aster Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Just as it is with many other flower species, the aster flower carries different symbolism and meanings. When examining the aster flower, be aware that it is also associated with these meanings: 

  • Patience
  • Daintiness
  • Elegance
  • Love of variety
  • Afterthought 

Each variety of color also is seen with its own symbolism and meanings. 

  • Purple asters are considered a royal color and symbolize wisdom, beauty, and nobility. They are the most popular color of this flowering plant. 
  • The white aster boasts spirituality, innocence, purity, and faith, as many white flowers do in modern culture. 
  • Red aster flowers represent eternal devotion and deep passion. 
  • Pink asters bring with it a symbolism of love, kindness, and sensitivity. 
  • A blue aster flower represents faith, stability, and depth. 

The Cultural Significance of Aster Flowers

The Cultural Significance of Aster Flowers

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks believed that the aster flower was extremely beneficial to have. They were considered to scare away snakes and evil spirits around the house. 

Greek Mythology

When exploring Greek mythology, asters were introduced when the goddess Astria looked up to the sky and could not see any stars. She was overcome with sadness that she started to weep, and her tears fell to the ground. From these tears, the star-shaped flowers that we know as asters grew. 

Another version of the story tells of the goddess Astria asking to be turned into a star when Jupiter, the god of thunder, sent a flood to the earth. After this happened, she became so sad that she cried, and her tears fell to the ground, sprouting aster flowers in its place. 

Some descriptions state that Astria, in fact, did become a star but was filled with sadness and cried tears to earth. These tears grew into asters across the world. 

One alternative story depicts Virgo scattering stardust across the earth. As it fell, asters grew, covering the world. 

Ancient Roman Culture 

In ancient Roman culture, burning aster leaves was common practice because people believed doing so would drive away evil spirits and serpents that may be roaming about. They were considered sacred flowers of the Greek and Roman gods. Romans and Greeks would decorate their altars with these popular flowers. 

Native American Culture

Within Native American culture, asters came about because of two girls who got lost in the woods. They were found by an elderly herb lady who could foresee their futures and chose to turn them into flowers to save their lives. One of the girls who wore a blue dress was the aster flower. 

Traditional Chinese Culture

Traditional Chinese Culture

When turning to the Chinese culture, they have their own variety of asters native to their land. These flowering blooms represent faithfulness and devotion. 

Victorian Times 

Many communities believe that the aster flower possesses magical powers. Individuals often used them in many potions with a variety of uses. Victorians also used flowers as a means to send hidden messages. Asters in a bouquet during those times meant spontaneity and variety. 

Cultural Significance

During World War II, asters were part of a ceremonial act of placing on French soldier’s tombs. This was to symbolize that they wished things would have turned out differently for the soldier. 

Asters have been depicted in many works of art for centuries, including books and paintings. Claude Monet painted a bountiful bouquet of asters back in 1880, and Vincent van Gogh used Chinese asters in several of his artwork creations. 


Suitable Gifting Occasions for Aster Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Aster Flowers

These cheerful blossoms can be given for almost any occasion, but there are a few instances where they are popular and recognized as a designated flower.  

Birth Month Flower

The aster is the official birth flower for the month of September. It is the perfect bouquet to bestow on someone born during this month. They carry a symbolism of wishes and good luck for the receiver. 

20th Wedding Anniversary

These flowering plants are a popular choice for a couple who are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. Symbolizing love, faith, and wisdom, this is the ideal blossom to gift to those committed to each other for a lifetime. 

Other Occasions 

Since asters are available in a wide variety of colors, they are suitable for almost any event. From birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, celebrations, sympathy & condolence, asters can find their way into several bouquets. When deciding on asters, take into account the color as each hue will carry different symbolism. 

Gifting Asters 

Asters are terrific flowers to give as a cut bouquet since as they can still look grand for up to three weeks in a vase. They can also be combined in many hues together or added to a diverse flower arrangement. 

These flowering plants grow well in pots and can be given as gifts as a potted plant for many events as well. They can either remain in the pot for indoor enjoyment or replanted outdoors as part of the yard landscape. 


Aster Cut Flower Care

Aster Cut Flower Care

Taking care of cut asters will help prolong their beauty. If they are taken from an outdoor garden, they should be cut first thing in the morning, before they have had a chance to dry in the daytime heat. Choose flowers that are in full bloom so they will remain that way indoors. 

Trim them from the area and transport the stems in a bucket of water until use. They should not dry out after cutting. 

When ordering asters from a florist, unpack immediately, remove the bottom foliage, and cut the ends. Place in the water solution and enjoy. 


In Conclusion 

Aster flowers are popular flowers that carry a wide array of symbolism and meaning along with their beauty. Resembling stars, asters can bring a cheerful sentiment when they are given as gifts for numerous occasions. 

Perfect for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, or other personal events, asters can provide a splash of color in a fall bouquet, making them the perfect addition. An outdoor gardening space will host these colorful blossoms late in the growing season, even after other flowering plants have finished blooming.


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We are a floristry, plant, and lifestyle city resource curated by a passionate team of horticulturists, floral & plant enthusiasts, budding designers, and intrepid urban gardeners. We're committed to showcasing the best in floral and plant design, sharing our experience and recommendations on the best blooms and greenery for every occasion, season, and living environment, and spreading our love of the enchanting world of flowers and plants.

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