This member of the Aster family of plants is native to eastern North America from Quebec and New Brunswick in Canada to the Carolinas and Georgia, westward to Missouri and northward into Canada. The New England aster is a robust perennial plant that is found in many habitats including roadside ditches as well as manicured gardens and landscapes.
This herbaceous plant can achieve a height of 5 to 6 feet and a diameter of 2.5 to 3 feet. It’s flowers range in colors from dark purple to light pink purple and even white. It is a stout, leafy plant with a robust, upright habit. The New England aster features a profuse bloom of daisy-like aster flowers that are approximately 1.5 inches in diameter with purple rays and yellow centers present from August through September. This plant has rough, hairy, lance-shaped leaves, that are about 4 inches long, with stiff, hairy stems.
The New England aster is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. It prefers moist, rich soils and is far more successful in areas with good air circulation that helps to reduce incidence of foliar diseases like powdery mildew.
This plant provides complementing texture to landscapes and wet plantings. It also is a good source of cut flowers although those cut flowers will only last about two day.
Pinching back the stems of this plant several times before mid-July will help control plant height, promote a bushy stature and perhaps reduce the need for staking. Pinching back will also delay flowering.
This plant provides color and contrast to the fall perennial border front especially if it is grown in masses or planted in groups. Also, this species is effective in naturalized areas, in meadows or in native or wildflower gardens.
The flowers of New England asters are attractive to butterflies.
The New England aster plant has medium green to gray-green foliage with an odor somewhat reminiscent of turpentine, when crushed.