Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Blue Asters
Credit: Denny Schrock
Blue Asters

Easy-to-grow asters come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit gardens of all dimensions, shapes, and styles—especially cutting gardens and sunny or lightly shaded borders. Although a few species bloom in early spring, most put on a spectacular flower display, supported by evergreen foliage, from late summer well into fall when other summer blooms may be fading.

genus name
  • Symphyotrichum
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 1 to 4 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Colorful Combinations

Asters get their name from the Latin word for "star," and their flowers are often the superstars of the fall garden. Some types of this native plant can reach up to 6 feet with flowers in white and pink but also, and perhaps most strikingly, in rich purple, showy lavender, and occasionally blue.

Aster Care Must-Knows

With several hundred species available, an aster can be found for most growing conditions short of full shade. This plant prefers moist, well-drained soil; overly wet soil leads to rot. Some asters require nutrient-rich soil; others need lean soil lacking organic material. Most asters should be grown in full sun to prevent flopping, especially in shady or windy locations. Woodland species tolerate shade, but need morning sum to produce the prettiest flowers.

Aster can be grown from seed, but expect uneven germination. It may be easier to purchased plants at a garden center. Space the transplants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the species, add mulch to keep the soil cool and prevent weeds, and water generously. Pinch back the tips of young plants to encourage bushiness. If your region receives less than one inch of rain a week, continue to water aster on a regular basis. If your plants lose flowers, or are not flowering well, they are getting too much or too little moisture. Try a different watering method.

Remove spent flowers after aster has finished blooming for the season to prevent lanky unwanted seedlings that may not resemble the original plant. Divide fast-growing every few years in spring or autumn, which helps plants maintain vigor and keeps them from dying out in the center. Watch for powdery mildew and rust diseases on the leaves. Chrysanthemum lace bugs sometimes show up and suck nutrients from the leaves, but can be controlled with insecticidal soap.

More Varieties of Aster

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New England aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke'

'Alma Potschke' New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke' blooms from August to frost with red-violet daisies on a plant 4 feet tall. Zones 4-8.

calico aster Symphyotrichum lateriflorus
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

Calico Aster

Symphyotrichum lateriflorus is a 2- to 3-foot-tall mounded, shrubby plant with pinkish-white daisies in September and October. Zones 4-8.

New York aster Symphyotrichum novi-belgii 'Fellowship'
Credit: Janet Mesic-Mackie

'Fellowship' New York Aster

Symphyotrichum novi-belgii 'Fellowship' has clear pink daisy flowers on plants that reach 3 feet tall. Zones 4-8.

New England aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'
Credit: Janet Mesic-Mackie

'Purple Dome' New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' grows only 18 inches tall and has bright purple flowers in September and October. Zones 4-8.

aster Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Monch'
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

'Monch' Aster

Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Monch' forms a tidy mound 2 feet tall and wide with lavender-blue semidouble daisylike flowers from June to September. Zones 5-8.

aster Symphyotrichum x alpellus 'Triumph'
Credit: Jay Wilde

'Triumph' Aster

Symphyotrichum x alpellus 'Triumph' is a petite summer bloomer, reaching only 1 foot tall. Its compact form is ideal for the front of the border or container gardens. Zones 4-9.

aster Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Wonder of Staffa'
Credit: Kim Cornelison

'Wonder of Staffa' Aster

Symphyotrichum x frikartii 'Wonder of Staffa' is similar to 'Monch', but grows 28 inches tall and has paler blue blooms. Zones 5-8.

'Hella Lacy' New England aster
Credit: Greg Ryan

'Hella Lacy' New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Hella Lacy' grows 3 feet tall and features clear purple flowers from midsummer through fall. Zones 4-8.

Aster Companion Plants

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Close up of purple Boltonia
Credit: Bill Holt


Looking almost like a tall baby's breath, boltonia is a large, late summer showstopper in the perennial border. Also known as white boltonia and white doll's daisy, its 1-inch-diameter daisy-like blooms may be white or light pink. Cut it back in early summer to promote a sturdier branched plant that requires no staking.

russian sage silver-leaf plant
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

Russian Sage

With its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage, Russian sage is an important player in summer and fall gardens. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders. The aromatic leaves are oblong, deeply cut along the edges. Foot-long panicles of flowers bloom for many weeks. Excellent drainage and full sun are ideal, although very light shade is tolerated. Plant close to avoid staking since the tall plants tend to flop.

Credit: Jo-Ann Richards


Sedums are nearly the perfect plants. They look good from the moment they emerge from the soil in spring and continue to look fresh and fabulous all growing season long. Many are attractive even in winter when their foliage dies and is left standing. They're also drought-tolerant and need very little if any care. They're favorites of butterflies and useful bees. The tall types are outstanding for cutting and drying. Does it get better than that? Only in the fact that there are many different types of this wonderful plant, from tall types that will top 2 feet to low-growing groundcovers that form mats. All thrive in full sun with good drainage. Ground cover types do a good job of suppressing weeds, but seldom tolerate foot traffic. Some of the smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.


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