All About Asters

All About Asters

It is October, and my adoring gaze this late season is fixed upon one family of plants… Asteraceae. That’s right: asters.

It may be their ability to spread—establishing large swaths of billowing flowers ranging from white to deep purple, the number of late-season pollinators that they attract, or their plucky ability to adapt to less-than-ideal conditions that makes me love them so. I am not sure, but this season I am all about asters. An up-close look will reveal a variety of bees working feverishly to collect pollen and nectar to provision their nests, and small orange skippers darting from flower to flower. Asters offer spectacle on top of spectacle. 

Now we have talked about this before, but it is worth repeating. Native plants provide services beyond the pollen and nectar produced by their flowers, and along with the eye-popping color and contrast of human adoration. The foliage can provide a place to over-winter for certain butterflies, and hollow stems create a habitat for native bees. Leaves become food for specific foraging caterpillars, and then those plump caterpillars and persistent fruit become fuel for migrating birds. Native plants provide material for building nests...the list goes on and on.

So, when planning your fall flower displays that usher in the cozy season of pumpkin spice, skip the stiff statured annuals and cultivated perennials, and go all-in on native asters. A few species to add to your garden include Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster), Symphyotrichum shortii (Short’s aster), Eurybia macrophylla (big-leaved aster), Symphyotrichum oolentangiense (sky-blue aster), and Symphyotrichum laeve (smooth aster), among many others. If you would like help adding asters or any other native plant to your garden, reach out to us at North Branch Natives. 

North Branch Natives blog posts are shared monthly with

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.