New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Moist, Medium
Color: Blue, Pink, Purple
Fragrance: No
Height: 3-6 feet
Spacing: 1-2 feet

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) occurs in moist prairies, meadows, thickets, low valleys and stream banks. It is a stout, leafy plant typically growing 3-6 feet tall with a robust, upright habit. Features a profuse bloom of daisy-like asters (to 1.5 inch diameter) with purple rays and yellow centers from late summer to early fall. Rough, hairy, lance-shaped leaves (to 4 inches long) clasp stiff, hairy stems. The blooming period occurs from late summer to fall, and lasts about 2 months. The root system consists of a stout caudex with fibrous roots, which often produces short thick rhizomes, enabling this plant to spread vegetatively. The achenes are longitudinally ribbed and slightly hairy, with tufts of hair that enable them to be carried off in the wind.

Habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, clay prairies, thickets, moist meadows in woodlands, open areas along rivers and lakes, fens, abandoned fields, open areas along railroads and roadsides, and miscellaneous waste areas. Some populations are probably escapes from cultivated plants. This plant colonizes disturbed areas readily, but it also occurs in high quality habitats.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers moist, rich soils. Good air circulation helps reduce incidence of foliar diseases. Pinching back stems several times before mid-July will help control plant height, promote bushiness and perhaps obviate the need for staking. Pinching back will also delay flowering. This plant can become stressed out by hot dry weather, often dropping its lower leaves in response, while the remaining leaves may turn yellow or brown. Another problem is that the stems often flop over in the absence of supportive vegetation.

Easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions. Plants may be cut to the ground after flowering to prevent any unwanted self-seeding and/or if foliage has become unsightly.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Taller plants may require staking or other support.
 Further Information

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