New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) produces an abundance of bright blooms, usually in shades of purple but sometimes pink, atop stems that typically reach 4 to 6 feet tall by the early to mid-fall flowering period. A common sight in moist meadows, it isn’t as popular for gardens, mainly because the species tends to drop its lower leaves if the soil dries out, or if it gets powdery mildew or other fungal diseases. The tall stems can also be prone to sprawling. You can get around the leaf-drop problem by planting New England aster behind lower, bushy perennials that will cover up its “bare legs.” A summer pruning—cutting the plants back by about half their height in early summer, and again by about a quarter in midsummer if they are getting taller than you’d like—can help to prevent later flopping by encouraging lower, bushier regrowth. With those accommodations, this species is worth growing for the fall flower display, which is a delight for gardeners as well as butterflies and other pollinators. Leave the seedheads for winter interest or cut the plants to the ground as soon as the flowers are finished to prevent self-sowing.
This species is native to much of eastern North America. These seeds are mostly from purple-flowered plants growing wild in my meadow in Bucks County, PA; I expect they would produce purple-flowered seedlings but pinks might occur too. Full sun; average to moist soil. Perennial; Zones 4 to 8.
Collected in mid November 2022. At least 25 seeds. PA ecotype.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.