Cool Plant: October 1, 2009

New York Aster
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii

Species Native Range: N.E. U.S. & Canada
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8
Mature Size: 18-36 inches tall & wide
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Moist but well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Fall has finally arrived and with it the last of the warm season blooming perennials. New York aster is a lovely plant that sports 3/4 inch blue-lavender flowers with a yellow center over much of the plant. I will admit that when the plant is not in bloom, it's not particularly attractive, but it makes up for it when the flowers arrive. Like mums, asters can be pruned back by 1/3 in late May and again in mid July to make them more tidy and compact.

Plant New York asters in full sun to light shade in rich, moist but well-drained soil. Flowering is better in full sun and plants growing in more shade tend to be leggy and flop. Prune the plant back to the ground after the first good frost and fertilize them in the spring when new growth appears. Divide every few years to maintain vigor.

Use asters in a perennial bed, mixed shrub/herbaceous border, cottage garden, herb garden or meadow. They tend to have an informal (some say unkept) appearance when not in bloom. Good companion plants include mums, late-blooming salvias such as Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), muhly grass, goldenrod and other fall flowering plants.


New York aster and many other asters are usually readily available especially at this time of year when in bloom.

Some online sources include:

North Creek Nurseries
Lazy S Nursery

If you have comments or questions about this article, please email me.

Images & Drawings Copyrighted © 2009 by Theresa Schrum - All rights reserved