Flower of the Month: September: Aster
September's Flower of the Month, the aster, is a member of the Asteraceae family. So like its relative, the daisy, asters have a central core of tiny yellow flowerheads surrounded by petals. While they are considered a type of wildflower, they make an excellent choice for cut flowers as well because of their stiff multi-branched flowering stems.
Asters are beautiful, colorful additions to a variety of flower arrangements. They are available in a wide range of color options, including white, pink, red, and purple, so they bridge the change of the seasons from Summer to Fall well. They look equally at home in a summer wildflower posy or bouquet as they do in a large Thanksgiving table centerpiece. They are an excellent choice as a filler flower to enhance an arrangement or as a focal flower when used en masse. Their delicate petals work well with many designs and their stiff stems can be used to emphasize vertical lines. Asters work particularly well when designing within the scope of a wildflower aesthetic or when looking to add texture an arrangement.
Asters hold special meaning when used in arrangements, and much like a rose, that meaning can change depending upon the color chosen. White asters symbolize purity and innocence as well as new beginnings, red and pink asters represent undying love, and purple asters mean royalty and wisdom. Asters regardless of their color symbolize wisdom, courage and faith.
When selecting asters, look for stems with one third of their florets open. Be sure to process the flowers as quickly as possible by recutting the stems at an angle and hydrating with commercial flower food for at least two hours. Once the floral arrangement is complete, you can prolong the life of your asters (and the other flowers in your arrangement) by changing the water every 2 days and adding fresh commercial flower food to the new water. With proper care, the vase life of an aster is between 6 to 10 days.