The Tartarian aster is a hardy, perennial with a long history. It originated in Asia including areas of northern China, southern Siberia, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan as much as 2,000 years ago where it grew across meadows and wetlands. Due to its widespread nature, this flower has taken root in the cultures of these countries. It has become part of the Japanese language of flowers as a symbol of remembrance. And in China, the roots of the plant have long been used medicinally to treat coughs, colds, and infections.
In Greek, aster means star, which is fitting for this genus of flowers that features radiating petals surrounding bright yellow centers. The structure of the blooms in the aster genus is similar to that of daisies or sunflowers which are also in the same, larger family of flowers. However, the asters’ blooms are smaller, usually about 1-2 inches in diameter. The Tartarian aster, in particular, boasts petals in various shades of violet, lavender, and blue. Even when not in bloom, this plant will make an impressive addition to your garden with its large, rough leaves that could be mistaken for tobacco at first glance. Its appearance would fit perfectly into a wildflower garden though it could just as easily be at home amidst a more landscaped lawn. The tall, flowering shoots of this aster make it an ideal choice for cut flowers to cheer any home as the days grow shorter.
In order to flourish, Tartarian asters prefer full sun and moist but well-draining soil. Though this is ideal, they can also tolerate some shade as well as varying soil conditions while still growing strong. The Tartarian aster has a wide reaching hardiness range that includes zones 3-9. In these conditions, the plant can grow up to 6 feet tall and spread about 3 feet wide. So make sure that in addition to giving them enough sun, you give these plants space to grow. This aster will need to be divided every few years to ensure it stays as healthy as possible. If the height of this particular aster is not what you’re looking for, the “Jindai” Tartarian aster boasts the same lavender blooms but only grows to about 4 feet tall.
Like some of the other species of asters, this particular species of aster is fall-blooming, lasting from September possibly into November. To ensure that it lasts that long, make sure to deadhead wilted blooms regularly to encourage new growth. With proper care, this plant could last well into autumn depending on how late in the season your area sees the first frost.[caption id="attachment_1387" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Butterflies love asters[/caption]
If you love butterflies, then this plant is for you! Use it to attract monarchs and other species and provide a place for them to eat as they begin their fall migrations. Sadly, pollinators are not the only creatures that might be attracted to this beautiful plant- deer and rabbits may decide your asters are worth a nibble too.
In summary, if you answer yes to the following, the Tartarian aster may be the perfect addition to your garden:
- You live in zones 3-9
- You have a space in your yard that gets plenty of sun
- You have soil that can drain well
- You want to attract more pollinators to your garden
- You want to mix up your garden’s fall color scheme