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New England aster

Purple flowers of 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.  Excellent in combination with other late season ornamental grasses, goldenrod and other asters. This plant is known for attracting butterflies. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

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

All common names:

New England aster

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


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


  • Dry sites,
  • Wet sites

Seasons of Interest:

  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • Purple

Shape or Form:

  • Irregular,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:


Most 3 to 6 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide
Cultivars can be shorter or taller.

Plant Care

Full sun in moist, rich, well-drained soils.
Pinch stems early in season to encourage the plant to be bushy and shorter.
Tall plants may need staking
Good air circulation reduces foliar problems

Disease, pests and problems

Minor foliage diseases such as powdery mildew and rust.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Drought tolerant, deer, rabbit, salt,temporary wet soils.

Native geographic location and habitat

North America
Common in prairies, moist meadows, thickets and stream banks.
C-Value: 4

Attracts birds & butterflies

Caterpillar and larva host to the pearl crescent and silvery checkerspot butterflies.
Nectar source for various butterflies.

Leaf description

Simple, alternate leaves,  clasping  stems; stiff, lance-shaped, up to 4 inches long

Flower description

Purple or pink daisy-like flowers; each flower about 1 1/2 inches across with numerous ray flowers and yellow centers.
Can be used as cut flowers but flowers close up at night.

Fruit descriptions

Not ornamentally important

Cultivars and their differences   

Andenken an Alma Potschke New England Aster (Symphytrichum novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke'): 3 to 4 feet high and 2-3 feet wide; Magenta pink ; light green leaves

Barr's Pink New England Aster (Symphytrichum novae-angliae 'Barr's Pink'): 3 to 4 feet high ; large (2 1/2 inch diameter) lilac-pink flowers with gold center; early to mid-fall

Harrinton's Pink New England Aster (Symphytrichum novae-angliae 'Harrington's Pink'): 4 to 6 feet high and 2 feet wide; clear pink flowers in late summer

Purple Dome New England Aster (Symphytrichum novae-angliae 'Purple Dome')18 to 24 inches high and wide; deep purple, semi-double flowers with yellow center

September Ruby New England Aster (Symphytrichum novae-angliae 'September Ruby' (syn. 'Septemberrubin'): 3 to 4 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide; ruby-rose flowers with yellow center

Related Species and their differences

Aromatic Aster (Symphytotricum oblongifolium (syn. Aster oblongifolius): bushy compact, low-growing perennial with hair stems; stiff, toothless, oblong, blue-green leaves up to 2 inches long; numerous, smal violet-blue flowers with yellow centers.

October Skies Aromatic Aster (Symphytotricum oblongifolium 'October Skies'): 12 to 18 inches high and wide; small daisy-like blue-purple flowers with yellow centers; more bushy than species

Raydon's Favorite Aromatic Aster (Symphytotricum oblongifolium 'Raydon's Favorite'): 2 to 3 feet high and 18 inches wide; masses of lavender-blue flowers

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.