Although the name New England Aster seems to imply that this plant is only native to the northeast, this fall-blooming perennial is actually native to most of the United States and much of Canada. It prefers full sun and moist soils. This is one of the showiest asters, blooming from late August into October and attaining a height of 2-1/2 to six feet tall. Although known as an attractive plant for butterflies, our plants here have been buzzing with visits from honeybees and a number of native bees.
Another native aster, Smooth Aster, is found throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. This plant also blooms from August through October but only reaches heights of 2-3 feet. It is attractive to birds and butterflies, and is important for native bees. Deer also like to graze on this plant but the plant will often respond with vigorous growth the following season.
Gray Goldenrod, one of the latest blooming goldenrods, is noteworthy as a plant that is good food source for a wide range of pollinators. It reaches a height of no more than 2 1/2 feet, is native to all except the far western U.S. and prefers full sun and dry soils. Many people think they are allergic to goldenrod but it is much more likely the allergy is to ragweed, which blooms at the same time but is inconspicuous compared to the glowing golden color of goldenrod.
These species are in stock at Applewood Seed Co. and could be seeded as a late fall planting in cool climate areas, especially when adequate rainfall is anticipated in the spring.