Flowers are proven to promote happy life. They have a nice impact on our surroundings and environment in general.
Flowers add color and joy to our daily lives.
In the far past, people have been familiar with various medicinal purposes of different flowering plants, and they also valued flowers simply for their appearance.
Floral motifs are some of the most common when it comes to ornamental art and art in general.
Spending some time in a flowery meadow or in a garden full of flowers in bloom could have an amazingly calming and refreshing effect on us.
Flowers bring fragrance and beauty into the monotony of fast-paced life.
Flowers are used not only for decoration but also in various beauty products.
Perfumes are made of flowers, in combination with various other natural products. Flowers are perfumes of mother nature, fragrant and seductive.
There is an incredible number of flowering plants on this planet.
Each of them is unique, adding a special touch to its native surroundings. The cultivation of flowering plants dates back to ancient times.
Gardening has been known ever since, as well as flower arrangements.
Flowers often have a strong cultural significance and play an important role in various religious traditions.
We may grow flowers to make our living space more fragrant and vibrant, and that is only one of the many good reasons to opt for taking care of flowering plants.
Today, we are talking about an amazing garden plant, the beautiful astrantia or masterwort.
Astrantia Flower Facts
Astrantia flowers are a genus of plants in the family of Apiaceae.
These beautiful, star-shaped flowers are native to the Caucasus mountains, Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. Astrantia flowers are commonly known as masterwort.
The same name, masterwort or great masterwort, is sometimes used to denote certain other flowers which are not related to astrantia.
This is not an isolated case, for there are many other similar examples. A good one is the case of myrtle, for instance.
There are several species of Astrantia genus and many varieties.
Five to ten species are officially recognized, depending on the taxonomy system.
When referring to astrantia flowers, people usually think of Astrantia major or great masterwort.
The etymology of the Astrantia genus is particularly charming.
The name derives from the Latin word for ‘star’ – aster.
The plant gained such a name due to its lovely star-shaped flowers. Astrantia flowers are known by some other common names, as well.
Astrantia is called the ’melancholy gentleman’ and ’Hattie’s pincushion’.
Astrantia flowers are used in gardening and for medicinal purposes.
This plant’s rhizomes and stems contain valuable essential oils that have stomachic properties.
Leaves of astrantia have beneficial properties concerning digestion.
The leaves could be used dried, for preparation of an infusion for stomach and digestive issues treatment.
They also work as a stimulant for appetite.
Astrantia flower varieties are valued as garden plants. The largest of the species has been given the Royal Horticultural Society’s award.
Beautiful and colorful astrantia look particularly lovely in gardens.
They require comfortable conditions which we will talk about in the following paragraphs.
Astrantia Flower Growth and Care
If you wonder how to grow and care for masterwort plants, the following tips could be of great use.
Beautiful astrantia flowers bloom in the late spring season and at the beginning of summer. Their flowers look like pincushions and stars.
Some compare them with fireworks, due to their interesting appearance.
They are perfect garden flowers, not particularly demanding.
What makes them a very common garden flower is that they do not require much sun.
If your space does not receive a lot of sunlight and you want some attractive, unusual colorful flowers, astrantia could be a perfect choice. So, how to take care of masterwort?
Masterwort is an ideal plant for garden borders and beds.
It could be grown along a shading garden plant, for it grows perfectly upright.
Hostas, for example, are an excellent choice to be paired with masterwort.
Masterwort is a woodland plant. Therefore, it requires partial sun exposure, to grow properly.
In addition, it loves moist soil. Streams, fountain sides, and areas that have enough water supply are excellent locations for growing masterworts.
Astrantia flowers are hardy. They do not require special maintenance and winter care.
Once winter passes, the plant will completely revive and paint your garden with its charming pincushion flowers in the springtime.
Light and Soil
As we have mentioned, masterwort requires shade. It is a woodland area perennial, used to a semi-shaded environment.
Masterwort enjoys filtered sunlight throughout the day. Some amount of morning sun could be nice, but make sure it is shaded over the warmest part of the day.
The masterwort’s sun tolerance depends on the climate.
If you live in a place where summers are not particularly hot, astrantia could fare well even if there is more sun than it normally requires. This is a lovely shade-loving plant.
Astrantia plants enjoy moisture. The perfect soul for growing masterwort should be moist, but well-drained. Astrantia loves rich soil.
Avoid sand or clay soil, since they tend to dry fast. If the soil was sandy or clay, add some organic matter.
About an inch or a couple of inches of compost could be a nice addition to the soil. The compost should be added in the fall season.
Overall, make sure the soil was moist enough, well-drained, and loaded with organic matter.
Temperature, Humidity and Water
When it comes to watering, masterwort is a thirsty plant. You should pay special attention to it when the weather is particularly hot.
Masterwort does not tolerate draught very well. Interestingly, masterwort is rot-resistant, compared to many other plants.
Perennials often suffer from rotting of the root if they stand on the wet, too-moist ground.
This is not the case with masterwort. It can tolerate wet soil, but it cannot stand dry.
If you notice your astrantia does not bloom the way it usually does, and if its leaves go brownish and dry, it is a sign the plant does not receive enough amount of water, which is usually the case in hot summer. Water the plant regularly.
You should add a layer of mulch (two to three inches) over the astrantia soil, especially if you live in an area with hotter climates.
It will keep the soil moist enough, for longer periods. Your masterwort requires a regular water supply from the ground.
Compost, shredded wood, and pine needles are good choices for mulching the soil.
Those would not only cover the soil and slow the evaporization of water, but your astrantia would benefit from its decomposition which enriches the soil.
When it comes to fertilization, it should be done once a year, or twice.
Propagation, Pruning and Repotting
Masterwort is propagated through division, and you can also grow the plant from seed.
The easy method of division will give perfect results when done in spring. You can also do it in the fall season, if necessary, that is, if you notice larger plants.
Propagation by division is easy. You should dig up an older plant, split it and cut it in half. It could be done either by using a spade or by your hands.
The separated plants could safely be planted in the desired location.
If you want to grow astrantia from seed, it would take more time. The seeds of astrantia need a cold stratification process to germinate.
They would need about six weeks. Early spring days or early fall is the time to plant the seeds into the ground, or in a container.
When it comes to pruning, masterwort does not need much of it.
However, if you would like to prolong the blooming period, remove older flowers.
Once the cold season hits, in late fall days or in the first days of winter, you can cut stems to a height of a couple of inches.
You can also grow masterwort as an annual plant, in a container. Make sure you place it in a location with enough shade.
Use potting mixture and regularly water your plant. Some fungicides could be applied to prevent the rotting.
If your astrantia overgrows the container, you should repot the plant into a more appropriate one.
Common Pests and Diseases
Astrantia is a hardy plant and it usually doe snot have problems with pests. Some pests love chewing on astrantia leaves, though.
Slugs are particularly interested in its leaves. In general, masterwort plant rarely gets damaged by pests.
One disease astrantia is prone to is known as powdery mildew, which is a fungal one.
It presents with white, grayish powder seen on the leaves of masterwort. Fungicides should be used and damaged leaves removed. Neem oil is the best choice.
Astrantia Species and Varieties
As we have mentioned, there are ten recognized species of astrantia, although not all are accepted by different taxonomy systems.
These include Astrantia bavarica, Astrantia carniolica, Astrantia colchica, Astrantia major, Astrantia maxima, Astrantia minor, Astrantia ossica, Astrantia pauciflora, Astrantia pontica and Astrantia trifida. Amongst these, Astrantia major and the maxima species are the most widely known.
Astrantia major is a species native to the central and eastern regions of the European continent.
It is a perennial very popular for growing in the garden. The epithet major stands for the ‘greater’ or ‘larger’.
The epithet is used to distinguish this specie from the smaller and larger ones. This plant is characterized by erect stems with few leaves.
The flowers are shaped like an umbrella. Bracts are numerous and long, usually of a reddish shade.
Astrantia major contains essential oils that have valuable medicinal purposes.
This plant counts several subspecies and various strains.
This is probably the most popular type of astrantia and is readily grown in gardens.
There are numerous varieties of astrantia you can grow in your garden.
They carry interesting names and each of the varieties looks uniquely amazing.
Dark Shiny Eyes – Astrantia ‘Dark Shiny Eyes’ is a very nice looking example. Its flowers are reddish and crimson, surrounded by rose-red bracts of a silvery shine.
Abbey Road – Astrantia major ‘Abbey Road’ is characterized by clusters of little purple-red flowers, surrounded by red and creamy soft bracts. They greatly remind of a pincushion, just like the previous example.
Alba – Astrantia major ‘Alba’ variety is elegantly white, as its name says. The flowers and bracts are white and greenish, reminding of a pincushion or stars. This type is a perfect choice for shady gardens.
Roma – Astrantia major ‘Roma’ is an elegantly beautiful variety and very popular amongst gardeners. Its flowers are pink, surrounded by lovely pinkish-white papery bracts.
Claret – Astrantia major ‘Claret’ is an interesting example of an astrantia plant, for its flowers are deep red-ruby colored. This variety has probably the darkest shade of flowers, amongst all astrantia plants.
Ruby Cloud – Astrantia major ‘Ruby cloud’ is another of the reddish astrantia varieties. Its flowers are of a ruby shade. The bracts are papery, star-shaped, and with red tips.
Star of Beauty – Astrantia major ‘Star of Beauty’ carries its name for a reason. It is a hardy plant giving loads of white flowers having magenta tips.
Astrantia maxima – Astrantia maxima is characterized by large flowers, compared to other species and varieties. The flowers are pale pink. The head is shaped like a dome, surrounded by pointy pink bracts.
Astrantia Symbolism and Meaning
There is no specifically defined symbolism and significance of astrantia flowers that we know of.
The colors of astrantia could be associated with different meanings, while the very properties of the plant could add to it.
Astrantia flowers are shaped like a star, and their Latin name originates from their star-like appearance.
The symbolism of the star is rich and vast. The stars are associated with guidance, hope, faith, motivation, divine wisdom, spirituality, magic, and fame.
These lovely star-shaped flowers may as well hold some of the symbolism of stars.
We can associate them with all of the above, as they represent the stars on earth.
Astrantia flowers grow in groups, so we can associate them with unity and protection.
They are like a million stars or million pincushions brought together.
When it comes to the association with pincushions, which also comes from the appearance of astrantia flowers, we can think of it as a lovely association.
Pincushions remind of home, crafts, creativity, and skills.
Overall, we can add only positive meanings to this interesting and charming plant.
Astrantia flowers will fill both your garden and your heart with color and joy.
We may freely say they could be a perfect symbol of late spring and midsummer.
Astrantia Flower Color Symbolism
Astrantia flowers come in several common colors.
These are pink, different shades of red, purplish, green, and white.
Each of the colors carries a special meaning.
Therefore, these star-like flowers gain a very specific meaning depending on their color.
Deep-red and crimson flowers are typically associated with intense emotions, passion, lust, and desire.
Different shades of red are also associated with life force and energy, with strength and vigor.
Those varieties of astrantia that are characterized by deeper red tones, crimson and similar shades could be taken as a symbol of vigor, strength, life, and energy.
The plant is itself vigorous, so we can associate it with vitality, growth, rebirth, and regeneration.
Pink tones are usually associated with gentle feelings and femininity.
Varieties that are pinkish are thus associated with grace, gentleness, feminine beauty, and energy.
Pink flowers are a symbol of loveliness, charm, and elegance.
White color has always been associated with divine powers, honesty, purity, spiritual journey, innocence, chastity, and honor.
White flowers symbolize divine love, spiritual bonds, and an innocent soul.
Being shaped like stars, white astrantia surely looks amazing.
These white stars of the earth remind of something bigger than earthly existence.
They symbolize magic and beauty, having roots in realms beyond the visible one.
Some astrantia flowers feature greenish-white flowers and bracts.
The color green is generally associated with nature, youth, freshness, and vitality.
It represents good health, renewal, growth, and new beginnings.
The symbolism of plants varies depending on their practical use and their appearance.
To understand the symbolic meaning of a certain plant, it is always good to search for it in local traditions, and folklore, and see how the plant has been used.
Astrantia flower is characterized by a bit of unexpected absence of popular tales surrounding the plant.
This beautiful star-shaped pincushion reminds inspiring, nevertheless.
If you look for the perfect flower to plant in your garden, masterwort is definitely a nice choice.