Asters are key pollinator plants as they flower late in the fall when few other plants are in bloom. These low-maintenance perennials tend to spread where they are planted, forming large, bushy patches that attract bees and butterflies.

Aromatic AsterSymphyotricum  oblongifolium
One of the last Aster species to bloom in the fall. Stiff, branching stems create a bush-like appearance and are completely covered in light purple flowers when blooming. The flowers will turn reddish purple as they mature. Despite the name, the flowers have no aroma, but the leaves do when crushed.  Perennial, full sun, 2’ height, dry to medium dry, well-drained soil, excellent pollinator attractor.

Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2023. Taxonomic Data Center. ( Chapel Hill, N.C. [maps generated from Kartesz, J.T. 2023. Floristic Synthesis of North America, Version 1.0. Biota of North America Program (BONAP). (in press)]
Calico AsterSymphyotrichum lateriflorum
Tiny white flowers cover the widely spreading branches of this aster. Grows well in moist, semi-shaded woodland settings, but can grow in full sun, too. Tolerates periodic flooding. 2-3’ height. Pinch plants back in late spring to early summer for bushier, shorter growth.

Prairie Aster – Symphyotricum turbinellum
Lavender flowers bloom in abundance every fall on this resilient plant. A notably beautiful aster. Full sun, medium to dry water, drought tolerant, 1-3’ height.

Heath AsterAster ericoides
This native aster is covered in tiny white blooms in the fall, attracting butterflies and bees. Grows 2-3’ tall, may need staking. Spreads by rhizomes, so can be considered aggressive. Tolerant of drought and poor soils. Medium to dry soil, full sun.

Smooth Blue AsterSymphyotrichum laeve
Smooth Blue Aster has masses of lavender blue flowers that feed many kinds of pollinators. An adaptable aster with attractive foliage and sturdy stems, and yes, smooth leaves! Spreads more slowly than many other asters. Grows 2-4’ tall, blooms late summer to early fall, full to partial sun, med-wet to med-dry soil, drought tolerant.