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July Flora Spotlight:
New England Aster

New England Aster
Novae angliae

New England Aster is a native species that tolerates poor soil and dryness, but will bloom poorly in dry soils.  They will also tolerate excess moisture longer that other species. Asters can be planted in full sun to light shade.  Aster: from the Greek aster, “a star” describing the clusters of delicate daisy-like, 1-2 inch purple flowers with a yellow disc center. The clumps get big, so give them plenty of room.  Divide the clumps every 3 -4 years in early spring or late fall after the flowering has finished.  Like mums, asters should be pinched for the best display.  General rule of thumb is to pinch back until the 4th of July.  Pinching yields better branching and more flowers.

The plant is very showy and is good for cut flowers as well as dried. Mix with native grasses and goldenrods (Solidago) for a spectacular display in late summer and into the fall.  

New England Asters are deer and rabbit resistant and a great source of nectar for butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects.  Migrating Monarchs are especially attracted to this plant.

A poultice of New England Aster is used to treat pain and fevers.

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