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Aster novae-angliae ‘Skyscraper’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Aster novae-angliae ‘Skyscraper’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Zone
Zones 1-24, 31-43
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Aster novae-angliae

New England Aster
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials, Flowers

ASTER

There are more than 600 species of true asters, ranging from 6-in.-high alpine kinds forming compact mounds to open-branching 6-ft.-tall plants. Flowers come in white or shades of blue, red, pink, lavender, or purple, mostly with yellow centers. Bloom time comes in late summer to early fall, except as noted.

Taller asters are invaluable for abundant color in large borders or among shrubs. Large sprays effective in arrangements. Compact dwarf or cushion types make tidy edgings, mounds of color in rock gardens, good container plants.

True asters are adapted to most soils, but growth is most luxuriant in fertile soil. They have few problems except for mildew on leaves in late fall. Strong-growing hybrids have invasive roots; they can regrow from small fragments left in soil and spread to become nuisances. Divide yearly in late fall or early spring. Replant vigorous young divisions from outside of clump; discard old center. Divide smaller, tufted, less vigorously growing kinds every 2 years.

Aster novae-angliae
Aster novae-angliae

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Aster novae-angliae

Native from Vermont to Alabama, west to North Dakota, Wyoming, and New Mexico. This stout-stemmed plant grows to 3–5 ft. tall and nearly as wide, and has hairy leaves to 5 in. long. Flowers are 2 in. wide; they are violet-blue in the basic form, with selections in other blue shades, white, pink, nearly red, and deep purple. The following are among the best of the many selections offered: ‘Alma Potschke’ bears salmon-pink single blooms on 2–4-ft.-tall stems from late summer to early fall. ‘Harrington’s Pink’ produces clear pink single flowers over a long fall season on 3–4-ft. stems. ‘Purple Dome’ is a mildew-resistant, compact grower to 1 1/2 ft. tall, with brilliant purple blooms. All are tolerant of wet soils, where they may reseed. Full sun or partial shade.

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