Butterfly Garden Plants
Common Buckeye on New England Aster
Common Buckeye on New England Aster

New England Aster
(Aster novae-angliae)

Colorful fall flowers blooming over an extended period (often until frost) make New England Aster an key butterfly garden plant. Asters as a group provide a large number of flowers per plant (and large amounts of butterfly nectar) at a time of the year when nectar sources are low.

When combined in the garden with goldenrods, the two plants will provide color and nectar at a time of the year when both can be in short supply.

Importance as a butterfly nectar source:
A wide variety of butterflies flock to New England Aster as a late season nectar plant.

Importance as a caterpillar food source:
Pearl Crescent caterpillars use New England Aster as a food source. The Pearl Crescent is widely distributed making New England Aster a good plant to try if you wish to observe caterpillars.


Cultural Requirements

USDA Hardiness Zone3 to 9
Bloom PeriodSeptember to October
Bloom ColorViolet to purple ray flowers with orange centers
Plant Height4 to 6 feet
Plant SpreadVaries
Light ExposureFull to part sun
Soil MoistureMoist
Animal/Disease ProblemsPowdery mildew may be a problem

Native Range

Aster novae-angliae


Plant Rating

Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating3
Nectar Rating3
Caterpillar Rating1

Plant Reviews

Madison, NJ: The selection ‘Hella Lacy’ shows some resistance to powdery mildew. Pinching back the stems in late June produces bushier, thicker plants.