When thinking of New England fall color, one automatically pictures majestic hues of red, orange and yellow produced by the native trees of the northeast. But that idyllic landscape overlooks the signature vibrant blooms of Aster novae-angliae. New England Asters, as they are commonly referred to, deliver a perfect pocket-sized dramatic punch of color to perennial gardens.
Asters come in a wide range of purple and pink hues, usually with yellow centers. There are many native species to choose from. With an average cultivar height of 18-30″ and natives growing up to twice as tall this is a perfect plant to help transition from late summer to early fall. Asters are hardy in USDA zones 4-8. Powdery mildews and other fungus outbreaks during the summer months can be treated with applications of horticultural oil or anti-fungal sprays.
Asters are a great addition of some fall pizzazz in the mid-border of the perennial garden. They look great with other fall plantings such as Goldenrod (the gold and purple contrast is superb!), grasses, and the fall blooming Montauk Daisy. Deer generally avoid noshing on Asters but this can vary according to deer density and acquired tastes.