New England aster

New England aster has purple flowers in late summer.

New England aster is a native, upright perennial with purple or pinkish daisy-like flowers that bloom in late summer and autumn.  This aster is known for attracting butterflies looking for nectar and is a host for butterfly caterpillars and larvae.

Botanical name:

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (syn. Aster novae-angliae)

All Common Names:

New England aster

Family (English):

Composite, sunflower, aster

Family (Botanic):

Asteraceae (formerly Compositae)

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Perennial


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • Purple

Shape or Form:

  • Irregular,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:


3 to 6 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide

Tree & Plant Care

Pinch stems early in season to encourage the plant to be bushy and shorter.
Plant behind other plants as the bottom portion of the plant often become leggy late in the season.

Disease, pests and problems

Minor foliage diseases can mar the foliage on the lower part of the stems late in the season.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Drought tolerant

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 4
Common in prairies.

Attracts birds & butterflies

Caterpillar and larva host to the pearl crescent and silvery checkerspot butterflies.
Nectar source for various butterflies such as the buckeye, viceroy, checkered white, painted lady, monarch, eastern tailed-blue pearl crescent, American painted lady, cloudless sulphur, clouded sulphur, common checkered-skipper, and the hairstreak butterflies. 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves clasp the stems; lance-shaped, up to 4 inches long

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Purple or pink daisy-like flowers; each flower about 1 1/2 inches across

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Not ornamentally important



Location of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (syn. Aster novae-angliae) (New England aster) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.