Aster novae-angliae / New England Aster
Funny thing about this aster. It started life in my garden as a variety of Aster novae-angliae called ‘Purple Mound,” so named because it’s only about a foot tall.
Then suddenly it morphed into a full-size aster 4 feet tall and the next year half of them flowered in a totally new color — the pinker shade you see here. I was impressed. By “morphing” I mean reverting to the characteristics of the species (breeding be damned.)
- New England asters are native to (no surprise) the Northeast, and are fine in Zones 3-9 — quite a spread.
- I rarely give it supplemental watering — only in long droughts.
- I follow advice in the Well Tended Perennial Garden: chopping it in half twice before July 4. This makes it shorter and bushier so I don’t have to stake it to keep it from totally flopping over.
- If you like aster’s winter look, wait til early spring to cut it back to the ground. Or just leave it alone through the winter because it’s the wildlife-friendly way to garden.