New England Aster

native plant profile: New England Aster

New England Aster ‘Alma Pötschke’

New England Aster -Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is a wonderful native perennial for late summer color and is an excellent food & foraging source for late season bees and migrating Monarch butterflies. It is recognized for attracting large amounts of native bees including Andrenid bees, sweat bees, small carpenter bees, and bumble bees. This flower also is an excellent pollen source for winter honey bees, which need an abundance of pollen stores in order to survive through the winter.

Honey bee on New England Aster

Honey bee -Apis mellifera on New England Aster 'Alma Pötschke'

Quick Profile:

Common
New England Aster, Hardy Aster, Michaelmas Daisy
Zones
3 – 9
Height
3 – 5 feet
Spread
3 – 4 feet
Blooms
Late Summer – Frost
Color
Pink, Violet, Purple
Light
Full Sun – Light Shade
Water
Average
Soil
Acidic, Rich, Well Drained.
Use
Borders, Border backs, Island centers, Native gardens, Butterfly gardens, Cottage gardens, Meadows, Agriculture hedgerows.
Care
Cut plants back in early July to keep them compact & encourage new blooms. Plants may be cut to the ground after flowering to prevent any unwanted self-seeding. Divide in fall every few years.
Attracts
Honeybees, Native bees, Butterflies.
Host
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) and checkerspot butterflies.
Notes
Eastern & Central U.S. native, Deer resistant
Impact
High beneficial value to native habitats & permaculture.

Besides attracting pollinators, New England Aster is also frequented by other beneficial insects including parasitic wasps -Chalcidoidea, jumping spiders -Salticidae and the insidious flower bug -Orius insidiosus which is an excellent predator of small pest insects and their eggs. This plant is a great addition to the butterfly garden; it is a nectar source for many butterflies and is the host plant for the Pearl Crescent butterfly -Phyciodes tharos, Northern Flower moth -Schinia septentrionalis & Carlota Checkerspot butterfly -Chlosyne gorgone.

Bombus impatiens on New England Aster

Bumble bee -Bombus impatiens on New England Aster

New England Aster is mostly pest & disease resistant, but can be prone to powdery mildew, so it should be planted with room to grow, in areas with good air circulation. A few insect pests find this plant tasty, including Lygus bugs, leafhoppers, thrips & Japanese beetles, but damage is usually not serious.

Some cultivars grow taller and may require staking. Pinching the plant back in early July will help to keep the plant more compact and bushy. It will self-seed, so it can be cut to the ground after blooming to prevent unwanted seeding. The plant should be divided every 2 – 3 years in the fall for optimum longevity.

New England Aster ‘Alma Pötschke’

There are many cultivars available that make excellent choices for garden & landscape use:

  • 'Alma Pötschke': 3 – 4 feet – vibrant pink blooms.
  • 'Barr’s Pink': 3 – 4 feet – rose-colored, semi-double blooms.
  • 'Harrington’s Pink': 4 – 5 feet – pink blooms.
  • 'Hella Lacy': 3 – 4 feet – dark purple blooms.
  • 'Honeysong Pink': 3 – 4 feet – yellow centered pink blooms.
  • 'September Beauty': 3 – 4 feet – deep red blooms.
  • 'September Ruby': 3 – 4 feet – magenta blooms.

Native plants are essential to sustaining our native ecosystems. They are much more adaptive than exotics and require little care once established. They are superior choices for the garden and landscape. Go Native ♥

sources: MSU Native Plant Facts, Missouri Botanical Garden

10.04.12 by network-green | © 2012
Questions or comments about - New England Aster - contact us

reuse, recycle & share: