Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England Aster

New England Aster isn't native only to New England. It has a home here in Minnesota too. It's a favorite of the Asters because of it often variably-colored and intensely saturated blooms. Your NE Aster may be more blue-purple, red-purple, or pink-lavender, but all bloom well and long in the cool days of late summer and autumn. It is an important food source at the end of the season and you will find it smothered in bees.

New England Aster can tolerate a wide variety of soil, from wetland edges to medium garden soils. It is drought tolerant, too, but avoid it for dry prairie plantings. It is a great rain garden or ditch plant since it has little fear of wet feet. In fact, I most commonly see it in ditches and at the edge of wetlands along the side of our local roads.

Some will say avoid NE Aster for home gardens as it will spread. For that they may say choose a cultivar. I do not offer any cultivars, but I have seen gardeners successfully integrate this aster into their landscapes.

Blooms: blue-purple, red-purple, or pink-lavender, August into October

Height: 3 to 5 feet

Conditions: sun, pt sun, pt shade, wet to medium soils