A relative of the common daisy, the Monte Casino flower is a popular sight in rustic gardens and cut flower arrangements. But did you know that this plant has deep roots in myth and folklore and that each flower color has a unique meaning?
In this guide, we’ll explain what the Monte Casino flower symbolizes and closely examine some fun facts and the cultural significance it has enjoyed over the centuries. We’ll also share some growing tips and reveal the secret meaning behind the color of Monte Casino flowers and what they express when you offer them to someone.
What Is the Monte Casino Flower?
The Monte Casino flower (Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pringlei) is a perennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae or aster family. It produces clusters of small, star-like flowers with white, purple, or pink petals and yellow disc florets. The plant can grow into a 47-inches tall shrub and typically blooms in late summer and fall. Native to central and eastern North America, the Monte Casino flower is widely cultivated in many parts of the world for its colorful blooms.
What Is Monte Casino Aster Used For?
Monte Casino flower is grown for its ornamental value. It is commonly used in borders and flower beds, especially in rustic designs, wildflower gardens, and cottage gardens. In addition, the showy, colorful blooms are used to fill out bouquets and flower arrangements, where they complement larger flowers.
The Monte Casino aster is also valuable for the local wildlife. The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies and beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings. In the fall, the small seeds are a source of food for sparrows and finches. If you live in an area where hummingbirds live, you can also grow red and purple asters to attract them to your garden.
Meaning & Symbolism
The Monte Casino flower symbolizes wisdom, faith, fidelity, and strong feelings of affection. This daisy-like flower has an unpretentious charm and can be used to tell someone that they’re effortlessly pretty. Some gardeners also believe that growing asters can be used to attract love.
Aster is the September birth month flower. So if someone has an aster tattoo, it could mean that they were born in September, and the tattoo is their good luck charm. The other September birth flower is morning glory.
Asters are also the 20th-anniversary flower and make a great wedding anniversary gift for someone you spent two decades with.
Monte Casino flowers come in a wide range of colors, making them suitable for any occasion. If you want to send someone a thoughtful bouquet or flower arrangement, here’s what your choice of color will tell them.
Purple Monte Casino Flowers
Purple is the most common color for the Monte Casino flower. It symbolizes wisdom and loyalty. Since ancient times, purple was a color associated with royalty, and today, the color is often associated with success and expressing feelings of admiration.
White Monte Casino Flowers
Traditionally, the color white symbolizes innocence and purity. In a bouquet, white flowers are also used to show reverence, humility, and sympathy for those who have experienced loss. White Monte Casino flowers also symbolize new beginnings, which is why they work well in a rustic wedding bouquet.
Pink Monte Casino Flowers
Pink asters symbolize tender feelings and affection. They’re not as passionate as red flowers but not as innocent and demure as white ones. You can use pink Monte Casino flowers in a bouquet for a close friend or relative.
Red Monte Casino Flowers
Red is the color of strong feelings, undying devotion, and passionate love. A bouquet that contains red Monte Casino asters is an excellent gift between lovers and romantic partners but might send the wrong message to people you only consider friends.
The Cultural Significance of Asters
The word “aster” comes from the Greek word “astḗr,” which means “star.” According to Greek mythology, the flowers were created when the tears of Titaness Astrea fell to the ground. The Greeks also used asters on the altars of gods and burned aster plants to ward off evil serpents and spirits.
In ancient China, asters were used for their medicinal properties. The plants were used to improve blood circulation, aid digestion, and treat epilepsy and pulmonary ailments.
According to a Cherokee legend, two sisters hid from some men in a forest. When they came upon the hut of an older woman, she used flowers and plants to disguise them from their pursuers. But by morning, the sister whose dress had a blue fringe had turned into an aster.
In the UK, asters were often associated with magic and occult practices. In the Victorian era, they also symbolized daintiness, charm, and patience. Asters are commonly called Michaelmas daisies in the British Isles because they flower late in the season and are around during the Feast of Saints Michael and Gabriel.
Asters are one of the last flowers to bloom in the garden in late fall. This is why they often mean hope and faith. In France, they were laid on the graves of soldiers to symbolize courage and farewell and to express the wish that things had turned out differently in battle.
On the 13th of October 1918, Hungarian revolutionary fighters wore aster flowers in their caps and hats to symbolize their support for independence. The flowers had such a long-lasting cultural impact that, even today, historians refer to the event as the Aster Revolution.
How to Grow
The Monte Casino flower is a low-maintenance hardy perennial that’s easy to grow in any garden. The easiest growing method is buying small plants from a nursery and transplanting them into the soil or containers. This plant is unpretentious regarding the sun, soil type, or watering and needs minimal care after the first year.
You can plant the Monte Casino flower in full sun or partial shade. It will thrive in a garden with full sun exposure, but it won’t mind a north-facing garden either.
The Monte Casino flower can grow in pretty much any type of soil. This includes slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soil, as well as clay and sandy soils. For best results, plant it in a soil mix that is well-draining but also moisture-retentive. Adding a bit of compost and mulch to the planting site will help new transplants establish quicker and help them grow faster.
Water and Fertilizers
Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Mature Monte Casino plants can tolerate a light drought but avoid letting the soil dry out completely. Asters don’t typically need fertilizers. However, to keep them thriving, you can give them a slow-release organic fertilizer such as liquid seaweed in spring and then in mid-summer.
Pruning and Maintenance
Remove spent flowers regularly to encourage the plant to keep blooming. Use a sharp pair of gardening scissors to cut the stems if you’re growing them to use in bouquets and flower arrangements. Never trim more than ⅔ of the plant, so it continues growing. After the flowers and leaves have dried out in late fall, you can give the shrub a hard cut.
The best way to propagate the Monte Casino flower is through plant division. Once every three years, preferably in spring, dig out the mature plants and manually separate them, then plant them about one foot apart. In late fall, leave a few flowers on the stalks, and they will self-sow.
Pests and Diseases
The Monte Casino flower rarely suffers from any pests. However, it can be susceptible to powdery mildew, Verticillium wilt, and grey mold. You can prevent these diseases by growing them in full sun, removing weeds regularly, and avoiding overhead watering. If you find sick plants, trim them and burn the infected stems, leaves, and flowers.
The Monte Casino flower is an easy-to-grow perennial plant that will bloom well into late fall. Its star-like blooms make an excellent addition to bouquets and can be used to tell someone that you admire them or to express feelings of deep, long-lasting affection. If you start growing it in your garden, you will attract pollinators, beneficial insects, and love, according to folk tales.
This flowering shrub is immensely rewarding to grow and will bring your garden to life for many years.
Does the Monte Casino Aster Come Back Every Year?
Yes. Asters, including the Monte Casino flower, are perennial plants, meaning they come back yearly. These flowers are self-seeding, so if you leave a few flower heads on the stalks, they will produce seeds that will sprout the following spring.
Is the Monte Casino Flower Safe for Cats?
The ASPCA does not include the Monte Casino flower (Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pringlei) on the list of plants that are toxic to cats.
Asters are generally considered safe for cats and dogs. However, eating stems and flowers in large amounts can cause vomiting. To keep your pets safe and your flower bed intact, keep pets out of your garden and avoid leaving them unsupervised, especially when they’re young.