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TREES & Plants

New England aster

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: 
Symphotrichum 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
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Dry sites
  • Wet sites
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Pink
  • Purple
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Rounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
More Information: 

Size

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