Ever noticed those beautiful daisy-like flowers that silently decorate gardens and the countryside? They are the asters; it is said that these flowers are made of tears belonging to the Greek goddess Asterea. The aster flower family is the second largest flower family, popular in all continents of the world. The word 'aster' means 'star' in Greek. There is a special branch of botany that is dedicated solely to the study of this family; it is called synantherology. Traditionally, there are two subfamilies: Asteroideae and Cichorioideae.
The aster flower family is also known as the daisy or sunflower family. According to a study conducted by the Royal Botanical Garden of Kew, the family comprises more than 23,000 species and 1,600 genera. Some of the largest genera of the family are Senecio (around 1,500 species), Vernonia (around 1,000 species), and Cousinia and Centaurea (both with around 600 species). The flower aster belongs to a genus of the same name, having more than 600 various types. A single aster flower is a group of more than hundred small yellow flowers. They are available in a variety of colors ranging from white to purple, all looking exhilarating and beautiful.
Amongst all the prevailing 600 aster flower species, the family got divided with the help of molecular research and morphological findings. Nonetheless, finding the best member of this family is still a tough task. There are way too many family members that one can plan to cultivate in the flower garden. In the entire family, there are many flower species that are attractive and beautiful. Some of these are the White Snakeroot, White Doll's Daisy, Climbing Aster, Green and Gold, Tall Tickseed, Trumpetweed, Robin's Plantain, Pale Purple Coneflower, Sweetscented Joepyeweed, Common Sneezeweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swamp Sunflower, and Lobed Tickseed.
Most of the members are perennial, which means, they last for more than three seasons. Some of the most favorite flowers of the aster family are Alpine Aster, White Heath, Smooth Blue Aster, Sea Aster, and New England Aster. The symbolism of these flowers makes them even more famous. Along with standing high as a symbol of love, patience, and givenness, the aster is also the birth flower of September and the flower for celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary.
Caring for aster flowers is very easy. They can be grown by both, seeds as well as the division of roots. Perennial aster flowers thrive greatly through division, every two to three years. Sow the seeds first in containers or small pots. Let them germinate for about 20 days. During this time, supply enough shade as well as sunlight. Sow the germinated seeds into the soil during spring. Supply plenty of water, along with a mixture of organic compost and/or fertilizers. Make sure that the plants are spaced more than 6 inches apart. Provide a good type of mulch to ensure they are resistant to insects and plant diseases.
This family is so huge that all the members just cannot be covered at a single go. However, the important ones, which can be grown at home, are mentioned above.