Asters are popular garden plants because of their showy flower heads and the availability of flowers in multiple colors.
Asters are beautiful perennials that are found wild in North America and southern Europe. The genus Aster includes some 600 species of widely distributed flowering plants in the family Asteraceae.
Kingdom Plantae Division Magnoliophyta Class Magnoliopsida Order Asterales Family Asteraceae Genus Aster
Asters are also called as Starworts, Michaelmas Daisies, or Frost Flowers. Asters are found chiefly in North America, with some species extending into South America; others are distributed throughout Europe and Asia. The word Aster is of Greek derivation and refers to the Starlike flowers that can be white, red, pink, purple, lavender and blue, mostly with yellow centers.
The genus Aster is now generally restricted to the old world species, with Aster amellus being the type species of the genus (and of the family Asteraceae). The new world species have now been reclassified in the genera Almutaster, Canadanthus, Doellingeria, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oligoneuron, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus and Symphyotrichum, but still the new world species are also widely referred to as Asters in the horticultural trade.
Asters are actually 1 – 1.5 – inch flowers. Asters are very complicated flowers. An Aster flower is actually a collection of very tiny tubular flowers, grouped together in a central disk, and surrounded by so-called ray flowers or petals, eg., Sunflower. The central disk of flowers on the Asters is surrounded by the ring of ray flowers. In many cases the disk flowers are a different color than the petals so that the entire flower head looks like a single flower with a central disk surrounded by differently colored petals. The ray flowers on the Asters are never yellow. The tubular flowers of the Asters are bisexual, having both a pistil and stamens; the ray flowers are usually sterile.
Facts About Asters
- Aster plants are mostly coarse-growing, leafy-stemmed plants that are occasionally slightly woody at the base.
- Most of the Asters are perennials, but a few are annuals and biennials.
- All Asters have alternate, simple leaves that are untoothed or toothed but rarely lobed.
- The leaves of the Aster plant are often dark green and, like the flower petals, can also be long, thin and pointed.
- Asters generally bloom in late summer and fall, but Alpine asters (Aster alpinus) flower in May and June.
- The two main groups of Asters are New England Asters (Aster novae anglias) and New York Asters (Aster nova belgii).
- Asters are one of the easiest garden perennials to cultivate.
- Asters’ biggest problem is powdery mildew.
- Asters are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species.
- Asters are oftentimes a prime target for birds, bees and butterflies because they are fragrant and colorful.
- Many species of Asters are drought resistant.
- Asters depend on insects to pollinate them. Some insects that take pollen from one plant to another include bees, butterflies, and flies.
- The seeds of Bushy Asters are small achenes, and look like parachutes, which usually spread by wind.
- The China Aster (Callistephus cinensis), also a Compositae, a native of China, is related to the true Asters.
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Asters may be propagated by dividing or grown from seed sown indoors at about 70 degrees F or may be sown directly into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Germination takes anywhere from 15 to 30 days, depending on the temperature.
- Asters should be planted in moist well-drained soil in full sun, but they will tolerate light shading.
- Plant Asters at least 18 inches apart so that plants do not form broad bushy clumps.
- Mature clumps should be divided every 3 – 4 years in the early spring, or late fall after the flowering has finished.
- Pinch back the tops by 6-8 inches at least once during the summer, to create a bushier plant and to prolong the fall bloom.
- Pinching must be done prior to mid July, or it will have an opposite effect, and blooming will be reduced.
Asters Plant Care
- By planting Asters in a sunny spot with good air circulation, powdery mildew can usually be avoided.
- Asters need regular watering at their roots.
- Many Aster varieties fail to survive the winter if kept too moist.
- Asters should be cut down after flowering to deter seeding. Even without seeding, Asters should be divided every three years to stay at their best.
- Disease in Asters can be controlled by dividing them yearly in spring.
- Pruning tends to delay flowering by only a few days but produces a much prettier plant.
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Daisy, any of several species of garden plants belonging to the family Asteraceae (also called Compositae). The name daisy commonly denotes the oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and the English, or true, daisy (Bellis perennis). These and other plants called daisies are distinguished by a flower composed of 15 to 30 white ray flowers surrounding a bright yellow disk flower. The oxeye daisy is native to Europe and Asia but has become a common wild plant in the United States. This perennial grows to a height of about 2 feet (60 cm) and has oblong, incised leaves and long petioles (leafstalks). Its solitary flowers are about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) in diameter, and the ray flowers are white in colour. The cultivated Shasta daisy (L. ×superbum) resembles the oxeye daisy but has larger flower heads that may reach a diameter of 4 inches (10 cm).
Members of the genus Bellis are perennials that have solitary flower heads borne on long stalks; the disk flowers are yellow, the ray flowers white or purple. The English daisy, B. perennis, is often used as a bedding plant. It has numerous spoon-shaped, slightly hairy leaves near its base that form a rosette. The plant has leafless flower stalks and hairy bracts (leaflike structures) below the flower heads. Some varieties of the English daisy have double flowers; others may have pink or red ray flowers surrounding the bright yellow disk. Like the oxeye, the English daisy is native to Europe but has become a common wild plant in the United States.
Daisies are simple yet sophisticated and are some of the most beautiful flowers in the floral world. Daisies convey cheer and exuberance in spades. Not surprisingly, daisies are popular both for gifting and growing in gardens.
Daisies belong to the daisy family of Compositae, now known as Asteraceae in flowering plants. Daisies are native to north and central Europe.
The origin of the word Daisy is the Anglo Saxon âdaes eageâ which literally mean âdayâs eyeâ. It was called this because daisies open at dawn as the day just starts to begin.
Kingdom Plantae Phylum Anthophyta Class Magnoliopsida Order Asterales Family Asteraceae Genus Bellis
A Daisy symbolizes innocence and purity. It can also symbolize new beginnings. The flower meaning of daisy is âloyal loveâand âI will never tellâ.
Some Interesting Facts about Daisies
- A Daisy is a perennial whose evergreen leaves form a basal tuft or a rosette.
- Daisy flower plant has a prostrate fashion or a growing habit of spreading.
- Daisies can be propagated by division in spring or through sowing seeds in spring or late autumn.
- English Daisy is a serious weed in the northwest United States.
- The Daisy flowers open at dawn and are visited by many small insects.
- Daisies are used by children to make daisy chains.
- The Daisy’s leaves are edible and can be used in salads.
About the Daisy Plant and Flower
A Daisy flower is composed of white petals and a yellow center, although the flower can sometimes have a pink or rose color.
Daisies are not made of just one flower. A Daisy is made up of two types of flowers – disk florets and petal-like white ray florets. The disk florets are at the center and the ray florets are at the periphery but they are arranged to give the impression of being a single flower. This arrangement on Daisies is a type of inflorescence known as a capitulum.
The stems of Daisies are smooth and leafless and support a single flower. Daisy plants have 3 – 4 inch flower stalks. The Daisy leaf texture varies and may be smooth or hairy, narrow at the base and slightly lobed. The Daisy flower stalks are generally longer than the leaves.
Varieties of Daisies
Some of the varieties of Daisies are the white Daisy-like flowers, the Spanish Daisy, Blue Daisy, Lazy Daisy or Prairie Daisy, African Daisy, Michaelmas Daisy, Swan River Daisy, Tatarian Daisy, Painted Daisy, Paris Daisy, Shasta Daisy, Crown-Daisy, Ox-eye Daisy, Nippon Oxeye Daisy, Giant Daisy, African Daisy, Kingfisher Daisy, Sunshine Daisy, Gerbera Daisy, Transvaal Daisy or Barberton Daisy, Tahoka Daisy, Livingstone Daisy, Gloriosa Daisy, Dahlberg Daisy and Butter Daisy.
Among the Daisy varieties, the Shasta Daisy and African Daisy are the most popular varieties
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Daisies can be grown very easily. Daisies are hard perennials.
- Daisies are commonly grown from seeds. Daisies can be directly seeded into the flowerbed.
- Plant Daisies during a full sun.
- Select a sunny location where they can grow undisturbed for years.
- Before planting, add generous amounts of manure and compost so that the soil becomes rich and well drained.
- If Daisies are planted in an area which is too hot, they should be shaded and watered regularly.
- Set the plants about 9 to 12 inches apart.
- Water the plants regularly during dry periods.
- Add a general purpose fertilizer in the early growth stage, and once a month afterwards.
Care for Daisies
- Generally Daisies are not bothered by insects and disease.
- If bothered by insects and disease, treat Daisies with an insecticidal soap or a fungicide.
- Just before blooming, use a fertilizer high in phosphorous as it helps to promote big, bright blooms.
- In cold weather regions, provide a thick layer of mulch for winter protection.
If you wish to know more about growing daisies and other flowers a good book on gardening would be a good thing to invest in. View books on Gardening