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Aster, Michaelmas Daisy

Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality

Michael S. Reid

Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis

Maturity & Quality


Aster spp. The family Asteraceae, and the genus Aster include numerous species and cultivars used in horticulture. A. ericoides ‘Monte Casino’ is particularly important in the florist trade. Another important aster for florists is the China aster, Callistephus chinensis.

Quality Indices

As with most members of the Asteraceae, immature flowers (ones harvested too early) will generally not open properly. Purchase as you would purchase chrysanthemums, more open (at least three-quarters open) than in a bud stage. Avoid specimens with yellowing leaves’ as this is an indication of improper storage and/or growing conditions.

Grading and Bunching

There are no grade standards as such, apart from the standard quality attributes of stem length, foliage quality, uniformity, and freedom from defects. Depending on the species and cultivar, bunches may be prepared by stem number (China aster, for example) or by bunch size (‘Monte Casino’ aster, for example).

Ethylene Sensitivity

Members of the Asteraceae are generally unaffected by exposure to moderate concentrations of ethylene.


Poor water relations often limit the vase-life of asters. This can be demonstrated by wilting of the flower and/or buds. Their vase life has been shown to be extended by a 10-second pretreatment with high concentrations (1000 ppm) of silver nitrate, which is a very effective germicide.

Storage Conditions

Store asters at 0-1°C.


Asters are packed in traditional flower boxes, hampers, or Proconas.

Special Considerations

It is very difficult to make broad flower care recommendations for asters because of the large number of species and cultivars. Keep stems and vase solution clean. It is especially important with asters to remove leaves that might be in the water since bacteria grow quickly on leaves that are under water, contaminating the vase solution and leading to early wilting. Treat with a hydrating solution and prepare the preservative solution properly to minimize contamination by debris and microorganisms.


October 2004

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The information in this fact sheet represents our best understanding of the current state of knowledge at the time of the latest update, and does not represent an exhaustive review of all research results. Links to any of these UC Postharvest Technology Center pages are permitted, but no endorsement of the linking site or products mentioned in the linking page is intended or implied by such a link.

How to Cite

Author(s) names. Initial publication or update date (located at the top). Title. Link to the specific Produce Fact Sheet webpage (Accessed date)

Example: Cantwell, M. and T. Suslow. 2002. Lettuce, Crisphead: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality. (Accessed January 18, 2014).

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