Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Purple Pixie'
Common Name: New England aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: October
Bloom Description: Purple with yellow centers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers moist, rich soils. Good air circulation helps reduce incidence of foliar diseases. Pinching back stems several times before mid-July will help control plant height, promote bushiness and perhaps obviate the need for staking. Pinching back will also delay flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, commonly called New England aster, is a Missouri native perennial which occurs in moist prairies, meadows, thickets, low valleys and stream banks (Steyermark) throughout the State. It is a stout, leafy plant typically growing 3-6' tall with a robust, upright habit. Features a profuse bloom of daisy-like asters (to 1.5" diameter) with purple rays and yellow centers from late summer to early fall. Rough, hairy, lance-shaped leaves (to 4" long) clasp stiff, hairy stems. Flowers are attractive to butterflies.

Genus name comes from the Greek symph meaning coming together and trich meaning hair in possible reference to the flower anthers.

Specific epithet means of New England, USA.

'Purple Pixie' grows to only 12-18" tall with a vigorous, upright habit. Features a profuse bloom of daisy-like asters (to 1.5" diameter) with royal purple rays and yellow disks. Flowers typically cover the foliage mound with bloom in early fall. No staking is required.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to powdery mildew. Aster wilt can also be an occasional problem, particularly if plants are grown in poorly-drained clay soils. Taller plants may require staking or other support.

Garden Uses

Provides color and contrast to the fall perennial border front. Mass or plant in groups. Also effective naturalized in drifts in meadows or in native or wildflower gardens.

Low-growing habit makes this aster a good plant for border fronts, large rock gardens or as an edging plant.