Aster Varieties: 25 Types of Aster Flowers For Your Garden

Asters come in many shapes and sizes. If you've decided to plant some asters this season but aren't sure what to pick, you've come to the right place! In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros walks through her favorite aster varieties you can plant in your garden this season!

New England Aster Flower in Garden

Swooping in to hog the garden spotlight just when other flowers are beginning to fade, aster flowers are the ‘star’ of zone 3-9 landscapes in late summer to early fall. With thousands of cultivars and hybrids derived from more than 200 species, these cheerful perennials are diverse in size and color. They even come in true blue varieties, the most elusive of all flower hues.

Ranging in height from 6 inches to 6 feet with a spread of 1 to 3 feet, asters grow on multi-stemmed bases and feature daisy-like rays extending from yellow-orange centers. The varieties we see most often in the landscape are sorted into New York or New England subspecies. It can be quite difficult to distinguish between the two, but both types are easy to grow.

With so many varieties to choose from, there’s certainly an aster variety for every sunny spot in the garden. Read on to explore some popular cultivars in the New York and New England categories as well as a few other, more obscure flowers. We’ll look at key characteristics from each to help you find an aster or two that you may want to try at home!

New England Asters

Also known as Aster novae-angliae in botanical terms, New England Asters are the most popular variety that you’ll seen in the United States. These flowers are perennials, and are grown quite commonly in perennial gardens across around the world. A few points about New England Asters:

  • Typically taller, but there are exceptions.
  • Flowers are small and simple in form.
  • Leaves are hairy.
  • Stems are thick and also hairy.

Let’s look at the most popular New England Aster varieties you’ll come across in many flower gardens. They are also very popular in native wildflower gardens in the United States.

‘Harrington’s Pink’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Harrington’s Pink’
‘Harrington’s Pink’ produces magnificent pink flowers which attract many butterflies.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall.
  • Height: 4 to 6 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Bright pink

This variety has a large presence in the garden with numerous, bright pink florets on branching stems. A butterfly favorite for its stature, this variety might need staking, especially in windy locations. Delicate, 1-inch rays droop and close slightly at night when the sun is down, but will reopen the next day.

‘Purple Cloud’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Cloud’
‘Purple Cloud’ blooms purple-blue flowers in late summer.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 2 to 3 feet
  • Flower color: Purple-blue

Masses of purple-blue rays cover this plant’s base in late summer and bloom for at least 4 weeks. Radiating out from a central, yellow-orange disk, flowers are supported by sturdy, hairy stems. Purple cloud delivers a long pop in the late season garden and provides valuable nectar for pollinators. Consider pinching them to encourage a bushier, rather than leggier habit.

‘September Ruby’

Aster novae-angliae ‘September Ruby’
‘September Ruby’ blooms ruby-red flowers in autumn.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Ruby red

Abundant, ruby red flowers cover this New England aster for an extended period of time in fall. Flowers are small but bright and cheerful. Stems are dense and bushy. Excellent cutting garden flower for small arrangements or accents. Stake for stability or pinch in July to promote a rounder shape. Make sure they get plenty of sun.

‘Pink Victor’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Pink Victor’
‘Pink Victor’ has delicate pink flowers that bloom in autumn for 4 weeks.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Medium pink

Terminal sprays of multi-layered, delicate pink flowers emanate from a strong central disk on Pink Victor. Foliage is strappy and stems are short. Bloom time is extra long at 4-plus weeks in fall. Divide every few years to encourage healthy flowering cycles. Plant in well drained soil.

‘Kickin’ Lilac Blue’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Kickin’ Lilac Blue’
‘Kickin’ Lilac Blue’ produces wonderful blue flowers that need support materials for stability.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Width: 2 to 3 feet
  • Flower color: Blue

Flower clusters are so abundant on Kickin’ Lilac Blue that you can barely see the stems beneath them. One of the rare true blue flower offerings, this one blooms from late summer to mid fall. Stake for stability or plant with supporting materials in front and behind. Does well in both mixed borders and large containers.

‘Purple Dome’

Aster novae-angliae Purple Dome
‘Purple Dome’ produces semi-double purple flowers with a yellow center.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Deep purple

Masses of semi-double, deep purple rays extend from yellow centers. Stems are sturdy and hairy. Purple dome is one of the aster varieties that can handle a little shade, so if you’re concerned that your planting location may not get the full 6 hours of sun, this might be a good choice for you.

‘Lou Williams’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Lou Williams’
‘Lou Williams’ is a perennial plant that is fairly cold climate tolerant and produces gorgeous deep purple-red flowers.
  • Plant zone: 3-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 5 to 6 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Ruby to purple-red

Rich hued, daisy-like flowers are more than 2 inches wide with broad petals. One of the larger aster varieties, this one has a sturdy stalk that doesn’t typically need staking unless it’s in a location where high winds will be the norm. Great fall color, a tall stature, and a tolerance for extra cold climates make this perennial a standout.

‘Hella Lacy’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Hella Lacy’
‘Hella Lacy’ blooms with light purple flowers until late autumn.
  • Plant zone: 3-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 5 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Violet

Thin, strappy petals in a light shade of violet give these flowers a whimsical appearance. Lasting long into the fall, Hella Lacy offers great contrast to autumnal oranges and yellows. Stake for stability or pinch in mid summer to encourage a more compact habit with more terminal flowers. Makes a nice addition to the cutting garden.

‘Honeysong pink’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Honeysong pink’
‘Honeysong pink’ has soft pink flowers that are able to attract pollinators to your garden.
  • Plant zone: 3-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 3 to 4 feet
  • Flower color: Pink

Soft pink, narrow petals and rich golden centers make Honeysong pink a pollinator favorite. Dense, semi-woody stems are sturdy but may require support if they are not sandwiched between other plants. This is one of the aster varieties that will tolerate wetter soil conditions, so use it if drainage is less than ideal.

‘Treasure’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Treasure’
‘Treasure’ produces large lilac flowers that bloom for at least 4 weeks in autumn.
  • Plant zone: 3-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 4 to 5 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Lilac

Featuring extra large flower heads with razor thin strappy petals, Treasure makes a statement in the perennial garden. Golden, almost rust colored centers are large and attract butterflies for at least four weeks in fall. Flowers droop and close up at night, but open again when the sun returns. Larger than your average aster flower, Treasure is a florist’s favorite for mixed bouquets.

‘Lachsglut’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Lachsglut’
‘Lachsglut’ blooms with bright pink flowers with a bright yellow center.
  • Plant zone: 3-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 2 to 4 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Bright pink

Vivid pink rays radiate from bright yellow centers in this eye-catching cultivar. Lachsglut offers an old country cottage vibe and lasts well into mid fall. This variety will tolerate some shade, so choose it for locations that might not meet full sun requirements. Bees, butterflies, and birds will flock to Lachsglut’s candy colored florets.

‘Mrs. S.T. Wright’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Mrs. S.T. Wright’
‘Mrs. S.T. Wright’ are perennials that have beautiful purple flowers with thin petals and a golden center.
  • Plant zone: 3-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 5 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Violet blue

This clump-forming New England aster delivers plentiful sprays of violet to blue colored flowers in late summer. Petals are extra thin and flower heads are large, making this one a natural choice for mixed bouquets. Golden centers age to brown, giving Mrs. S.T. Wright a nice autumn profile.

New York Asters

New York Asters are shorter, and more compact varieties. They flower in many different colors, and are also becoming a garden favorite in many perennial gardens. They are also botanically known as Aster novi-belgii. A few notes about New York Asters:

  • Typically smaller, more compact.
  • Flowers are slightly larger, showier.
  • Leaves are smooth.
  • Stems are thin and also smooth.

While not quite as common as New England varieties, these flowers are also gaining in popularity. Let’s look at some of the most common varieties.

‘Ada Ballard’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Ada Ballard’
‘Ada Ballard’ blooms with beautiful blue-purple flowers, and prefers well-drained soil.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 3 to 4 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Lavender to blue

Large double-flower heads span 3 inches on Ada Ballard, giving it a dramatic presence in the late season garden. A butterfly favorite with bright yellow centers, this aster blooms on slender stems and makes a fine addition to the cutting garden. Plant in well drained soil and keep moist.

‘Brigitte’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Brigitte’
‘Brigitte’ produces semi-double pastel blue flowers.
  • Plant zone: 3-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 3 feet
  • Width: 1 to 3 feet
  • Flower color: Blue

With pastel blue, semi-double flowers set against dense, dark green foliage on a compact plant, Brigitte is a show stopper. Her central disk is green with a pale yellow surround that is joined by some of her strappy petals. At home in coastal or cottage gardens, as well as urban containers, this variety will tolerate some shade and lasts long into October in most regions.

‘Chatterbox’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Chatterbox’
‘Chatterbox’ has many semi-double pink flowers, which are known for their resistance to rabbits and deer.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Lilac-pink

Masses of fluffy, semi-double flowers are lilac to pink on this dwarf aster with a large personality. Thin, gray-green leaves give its bushy base an unusual color and provide nice contrast in mixed borders. Known to be deer and rabbit resistant, Chatterbox is a cottage garden favorite. Make sure it gets plenty of sun to reduce chances of mildew problems.

‘Royal Ruby’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Royal Ruby’
‘Royal Ruby’ has semi-double pink-red flowers that bloom in late summer.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Mulberry to red

This variety is one of the most vivid offerings in the New York family. Large masses of semi-double, pink-red flowers bloom from slender stems with rich, dark leaves. Centers are golden and large. Butterflies flock to its bold presence during late summer and early autumn. Equally at home in mixed borders or containers, Royal Ruby is versatile and eye-catching.

‘Professor Anton Kippenberg’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Professor Anton Kippenberg’
This long-flowering aster species has blue-lilac flowers and dark green foliage.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Blue-lilac

Easy to grow and long blooming, Professor Anton Kippenberg features thin blue-lilac petals radiating from a central disk that gets larger as the season progresses. This makes it a pollinator favorite and an ideal addition to the butterfly garden. Foliage is dark and bushy. Give this one plenty of space between its neighbors to discourage powdery mildew. Cut back completely in late fall when flowering is complete.

‘Jenny’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Jenny’
‘Jenny’ attracts attention with bright pink flowers that retain color in autumn for 4 weeks.
  • Plant zone: 3-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Bright pink to rose

A prolific flowerer with bright pink to rose colored petals, Jenny holds its color and commands attention for up to 4 weeks in fall. This variety, known for its delicate, dark green foliage, is often planted in groups to create a dramatic effect. But it’s also at home in a small container. Jenny is relatively low maintenance but needs full sun to thrive.

‘Coombe Fishacre’

Aster novi-belgii ‘Coombe Fishacre’
‘Coombe Fishacre’ blooms with pale lilac flowers with a brownish-pink center.
  • Plant zone: 4-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Lilac-pink

One of the taller New York family asters, Coombe Fishacre has pale lilac rays that extend from brownish-pink centers. Flowers cover most of the exterior of this round, shrub-like aster for an exceptionally long time. It is one of the aster varieties that can tolerate clay soil, so gardeners without perfect drainage might want to give this one a try.

‘White Swan’

Aster novi-belgii ‘White Swan’
‘White Swan’ produces incredible white flowers with a yellow center.
  • Plant zone: 3-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: White

Often mistaken for miniature daisies, White Swan asters feature a traditional ray-form flower with strappy white petals and bright yellow centers. Their crisp white color holds well throughout the season and provides nice contrast to other, more colorful perennials in the late garden. Pinch them in early summer to promote a compact, bushy habit. Make sure they get plenty of sun.

Other Asters

There are several aster varieties that are lesser known, but have quite popular cultivars. Some lesser known asters include Aster Oblongifolius, Aster amellus, and Aster x frikartii. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the most popular cultivars of each more obscure variety.

‘October Skies’

Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’
‘October Skies’ produces magnificent lilac flowers with a strong fragrance.
  • Plant zone: 3-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Sky blue to lilac

This aster differentiates from New York and New England varieties by possessing strong aromatic qualities. Petals read sky blue to lilac in color and are thin and somewhat separate, giving Aster Oblongifolius ‘October Skies’ a unique flower profile. Yellow centers turn brown in late fall and are attractive to pollinators. Perfect choice for small borders or containers.

‘Fanny’s Aster’

Aster oblongifolius ‘Fanny’s Aster’
This species of asters is fairly heating tolerant and has light purple flowers.
  • Plant zone: 3-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Width: 2 to 3 feet
  • Flower color: Light purple

Aster Oblongifolius ‘Fanny’s Aster’ opens later in the season than New York or New England varieties and blooms for a shorter time (roughly 3 weeks), but it does have a higher heat tolerance than other varieties. Flowers are light purple and sweet smelling, making it a good choice for a patio or porch planting. Use it in warmer zones, where the sun may be intense.

‘King George’

Aster amellus ‘King George’
This beautiful species of aster belongs to the Italian aster family, which blooms with star-shaped purple flowers.
  • Plant zone: 5-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Violet

One of the first asters to bloom, Aster amellus ‘King George’ is a member of the Italian aster family. It features a profuse mound of star-shaped, violet flowers that typically span 2 to 3 inches in width. Foliage is oval and dark with a compact, bushy habit. Stems are sturdy and do not typically need support or staking. This variety is not suitable for climates with extreme winter temps.

‘Grunder’

Aster amellus ‘Grunder’
‘Grunder’  produces rich lavender flowers that will brighten up any garden.
  • Plant zone: 5-8
  • Bloom time: Late summer
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Width: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower color: Rich lavender

Thin, strappy petals in a rich hue of lavender are offset brilliantly by a sunny yellow center on this Italian variety. Also an early bloomer, Aster amellus ‘Grunder’ can be counted on to pack a colorful punch for about three weeks in late summer. Stems are strong and do not typically need staking. Use it in the back of mixed aster borders or in the cutting garden.

‘Monch’

Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’
‘Monch’ blooms from mid-summer with bright lavender and blue flowers.
  • Plant zone: 5-9
  • Bloom time: Late summer to fall
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Width: 2 to 3 feet
  • Flower color: Lavender to blue

One of the first aster varieties to bloom, Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’ brings 2-inch, striking blue sprays to the garden in mid summer. Flowering time is extra long and heat tolerance is high, making this a good choice in warmer regions. Stems are sturdy and habit is dense. Monch is known for being mildew resistant and easy to grow.

Final Thoughts

When planning a garden to include four season interest, asters are a go-to for late season charm and minimal maintenance. With a broad color spectrum and a prolific blooming habit, asters pack a punch in the garden just when it’s needed most.

When selecting a variety to try in beds or containers, pay attention to mature height and stem strength. If a more compact shape is desired, pinch the tops off in mid summer to encourage side branching. When a taller, specimen plant is desired for back or middle borders, let them go but provide support when they get leggy.

Take some time to get to know this reliable perennial and choose a variety that suits your particular garden needs. You’ll be glad you did.

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