Perennial of the Week: New England Aster

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New England aster (Symphyotrichumnovae-angliae) is an excellent plant for the fall garden.  In addition to providing color in the landscape, it also is a late-season source of pollen for bees and other pollinators.  New England aster is native to much of the Eastern US and its purple daisy-like flowers can be seen in fields in bloom now.  It blooms from late summer through October. This plant prefers moist, rich soils but will tolerate clay soils, and some drought once established.  New England aster grows well in a sunny location but can also succeed in partial shade.  This plant grows from 3 – 6' tall with a spread of 2 – 3'.  Asters are vigorous growers and some cultivars may need staking.  Pinching back stems several times before mid-July will help control plant height, keep them stockier and possibly alleviate the need for staking. They can be easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden if given the optimum growing conditions.

New England aster with a bee