Why plant Audubon® Native New England Aster?
Asters are abundant in our nation’s wild spaces and are vitally important to the ecosystems there. We can take that as a clue that our own wildlife-friendly gardens should not be without them. New England Aster is a particularly showy species loved by birds and butterflies. Its purple blooms, which make a splash in late summer and fall, attract pollinators of all stripes. Its foliage hosts various caterpillars and other small insects, which in turn feed insectivorous songbirds. Plus, its seeds nourish many bird species, such as chickadees, goldfinches, juncos, and towhees. A must-have for meadows, rain gardens, and native wildflower borders.
Native to not only New England, but the Midwest as well, New England Aster has been cultivated in their country and abroad for over 300 years. Gardeners have found it to be a valuable Spirit in perennial borders, and over the years, they’ve selected various forms in different colors, shapes, and sizes to suit a more formal aesthetic. What we offer here is the unadulterated wild version, like you’d find growing in a sunny meadow, naturally. If you’ve ever come across a patch of wild New England Aster, glowing in the September sunshine, you know that no improvement is necessary!
How to use Audubon® Native New England Aster in the landscape?
In the wild, New England Aster often grows in conjunction with Goldenrod, and the two blooming together paint an unforgettable picture of purple and gold. You can recreate this tableau in your own backyard border with Showy Goldenrod as a partner. It’s a pretty picture… and a pollinator paradise!
Hardiness Zone: 4-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native New England Aster
New England Aster will look its best when a few simple practices are followed. First, be sure to plant it in full sun, in an open space with good air flow, and water it well during dry spells. These things will keep leaf diseases like powdery mildew at bay. Second, cut plants down by half when they reach two feet tall. This will produce a bushier plant that is less apt to flop later on. And finally, divide your Asters in spring if performance starts to decline. Just dig up chunks and replant, discarding any weak or woody sections. Cut spend plants to the ground in late winter or early spring.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.