Asters are hands-down my favorite fall blooming plants. These colorful, pest resistant, and late flowering perennials are perfect for gardens from USDA zones 3 through 8. There are about ninety species of asters native to North America, many with dozens of named cultivars, varieties, and subspecies. They range from one to four feet in height and vary in color from pink and purple, to red, white, lavender, and blue. The choices are dizzying!
Most native asters used to be in the genus Aster but are now in the genus Symphoyotrichum. From here on out – or at least until they change it again – the genus Aster only refers to Old World species of asters. Regardless of the nomenclature change (and the spelling and pronunciation problems many gardeners are facing because of it), native asters are one exceptional group of plants. Not only are they a good-looking and easy-natured group, they lay out the welcome mat for beneficial insects and pollinators.
Which asters are already at home in your garden?