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One of the earliest uses of astrology was to help categorize the natural world. Since ancient times, each known plant species was connected with a particular planet. Some were assigned according to their affinity with a quality of a planet. For instance, those with thorns were given to Mars, which governs conflict and strife. Herbs were associated with planets according to their ability to cure ailments or assist the functioning of particular parts of the human body. Some were named for their specialty such as boneset, an herb said to speed healing of broken bones. Boneset was identified with Saturn because this planet governs bones.

Where Do Saturn Plants Grow?

Saturn plants grow in woodlands, obscure valleys, high elevations and abandoned, neglected locations unfit for human habitation. Most shade-loving and mountain wildflowers fall under the dominion of Saturn. Wispy, pale flowers that bloom for only a short time distinguish them. Solomon's seal, hosta and members of the nightshade family fall under the dominion of Saturn. These wildflowers grow where nothing else will, but deliberately establishing them in a garden can be troublesome. They are like good habits: difficult to stabilize but easy to maintain once they've become part of the daily landscape.

In astrology, Saturn signifies mountains and rocks. Plant forms that can take hold in the small crevices of a rock wall or thrive in rock gardens, such as carpet bugle and alpine poppies, belong to Saturn. Herbs of Saturn include sage, thyme and comfrey. Many Saturn plants, such as mullien and amaranth, produce unusually large numbers of seeds. I once innocently allowed mature seed from one mullien plant in my new herb garden to be carried away by the wind. The next spring, it was thriving in every corner of a five-acre plot. Other Saturnian plants spread quickly through shallow root systems. Gardeners fear the very Saturnian "creeping Charlie" as much as astrologers dread a bad Saturn transit.

Saturn Plant Teachers

Modern gardeners can enhance their horticultural experience through Saturn in several ways. The first is to choose plants assigned to Saturn for shade, rock walls and high elevations where other plants won't thrive. Its energies are also well used during all forms of cultivation by weeding out "volunteer" Saturn plants. This planet encourages us to maintain good boundaries by blurring our tidy rows of green beans with pigweed. There's no guarantee that understanding Saturn will make garden chores more fun. However, gardeners who work in harmony with Saturn can embrace its energy when they plan their garden and with each tug on a weed.

Another way gardeners can find Saturn helpful is when viewing the garden as a metaphor. All life forms, including plants, are expressions of planetary energies. Knowing the purpose and function of each planet can enhance every aspect of gardening. Saturn is known to astrologers as "The Great Teacher," the planet of karma. Saturn's cosmic job is to invite humans to take control of their lives through self-discipline and responsible conduct. If we don't take up the challenge, Saturn introduces challenges that won't go away until order is restored.

Gardeners who lose control of their gardens reap an instant weedy karma. Saturn fills bare, mulch-free spots with its own choice of plant life, one much less attractive than the pictures in seed catalogues. Humans who take charge of their own lives don't have to worry about someone else doing it. A garden gone to weeds is a metaphor for a life become unproductive due to lack of discipline and control. A well-tended garden is a real-life representation of a responsible and productive life.

Other Plants of Saturn

Trees, Shrubs, Shrublets

  • Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)
  • Baneberry (Actaea)
  • Boxwood (Buxus)
  • Canada hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
  • St. Johnís wort (Hypericum coris)
  • Scotch heather (Calluna vulgaris)

Perennials, Bulbs, Bulblike Plants

  • Astrantia (Masterwort)
  • Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla)
  • Coral bells (Heuchera)
  • False spiraea (Astilbe)
  • Gentian(Gentiana)
  • Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodox)
  • Goat's beard (Aruncus)
  • Hellebore (Helleborus)
  • Ice plant (Delosperma)
  • Lady's mantle (Alchemilla)
  • Rock jasmine (Androsace)
  • Sandwort (Arenaria)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus)
  • Stonecress (Aethionema)
  • Sulfur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum)


Maggie Anderson has an M.S. degree in marital and family therapy. She writes four weekly columns for AstroNet under the pen name "AstroMaggi" and does private readings for individuals and couples.

Send an email to the author.

For more information about Maggie Anderson, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Maggie Anderson:

  • Gardening by the Phases of the Moon   8/1/2001
  • Gardening by the Signs of the Moon   7/10/2001
  • Keeping Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions   1/1/2001
  • Of Plants and Planets: Mars   11/11/2000
  • Of Plants and Planets: Jupiter   10/7/2000
  • Gardening by the Signs of the Moon   6/17/2000
  • Gardening by the Phases of the Moon   5/13/2000

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