A Quick Guide to Asters

Few of our native plants shine in September and October like asters do.

At Herring Run Nursery we are big fans of asters: they add fantastic color to the Fall garden, provide crucial late-season nectar to pollinators (including the migrating Monarch butterfly), and are important host plants for all sorts of important caterpillars.

We rounded up some great photographs from Flickr to make it easier for you to figure out which of these are right for your garden.  We should have these and more are our native plant sale on Saturday!

Soleil, Soleil 2A+
Aster cordifolius, or blue wood aster, is a shade tolerant aster that provides clouds of blue flowers and lovely foliage. A great naturalizer under shade trees. Photo by France Smyth, on Flickr.


White woodland aster
Aster divaricatus, or white wood aster, produces a fairyland of glistening of small white daisies in September and October. Lovley naturalized in shade, average, and dry soil. Photo by RPOP, on Flickr.


Aster, Myrten - heath aster (aster ericoides 'Snow Flurry'
Aster ericoides ‘Snow Flurry‘, or heath aster, is a marvel. It is a very low dense carpeting groundcover that is smothered with 1/2″ single white flowers with gold centers in September. A good strong grower and a totally new look and use for Asters! Makes an excellent container plant. Photo by HEN-Magonza, on Flickr.


Aster laevis 'Bluebird' blooms - 2 Oct 2012
Aster laevis ‘Bluebird‘, or smooth aster, is a tall vased-shaped wildflower with large 1″ diameter blue flowers held in cloud-like clusters at the tips of the arching branches. Pinch back the young shoots in June for denser habit and more flowers, but it is not essential. Photo by mmwm, on Flickr.


New England Aster
Aster novae-angliae, or New England aster, offers colorful fall flowers blooming over an extended period (often until frost). New England aster an key butterfly garden plant. The ‘Purple Dome’ is a naturally occurring variety which is shorter and more purple in color. Photo by Voxphoto, on Flickr.


Aster novi-belgii
Aster novi-belgii, or New York aster, is a local midatlantic native of moist to wet meadows. Flowers may vary in shades of pink, purple and white and bloom in early fall, which is late August and early September. Photo by beautifulcataya, on Flickr.


Aromatic Aster
Aster oblongifolus, or aromatic aster, is a very showy, low-growing, bushy plant with hundreds of daisy type blue-lavender flowers with yellow centers. Like most asters, it is very attractive to butterflies and makes an excellent cut flower. Several cultivars exist, including ‘October Skies‘ and ‘Raydon’s Favorite’. Photo by pchgorman, on Flickr.

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