Aster Companion Plants: 15 Plants You Can Grow With Asters

Are you looking for some companions to grow with your beloved Aster flowers this season? There are many different options depending on where you've planted them. In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros examines her favorite companion plants to pair with Asters in your garden this season!

aster companions

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Perennial stars in the late season garden, flowering asters are often a solo act. With mounds of sweet-colored, daisy-like flowers peppering the landscape for up to four weeks in zones 3 through 9, asters shine at a time when most other flowers have shut down for the season. And typically they do not require a supporting cast.

But there are reasons you might want to find your asters some new garden companions. Maybe you’d like your yard to be a late season pollinator hub. Or you’re looking for a little variety in the cutting garden. Maybe you’d like something to help keep garden pests in check. Or something to create an autumnal display near the front porch.

For whatever reason you’re looking to couple them off, there are plenty of plants that pair brilliantly with asters. Read on for a closer look at some of your options and find out why each works well with the aster’s unique garden profile. 

Common Yarrow

Achillea millefolium
Yarrow is an excellent companion for asters, blooming from late June to August with yellow, white, or pink flowers.
Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia, Europe, North America
  • Size: 2-4 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Grow Zone: 3-9

Similar in height and width to most aster varieties, yarrow blooms from late June through August, so they overlap nicely. Yarrow has flattened flower heads, called corymbs, with dense clusters of pink, white, red, or yellow blossoms.

Yarrow makes a great fall companion for asters with its unusual flower shape and fuzzy, fern-like foliage. Plant it in a natural area where you don’t mind some spread, as the species will self seed.

Yarrow’s sun requirements are identical to asters, and they tolerate a range of soil conditions. This makes them good bedfellows.

Climbing rose

Rosa
Climbing roses create a special romantic atmosphere in the garden.
Scientific Name: Rosa
  • Plant Type: Perennial climbing shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Size: 3-20 feet tall, up to 6 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 4-11

A romantic backdrop in any garden setting, climbing roses are particularly comfortable in the company of asters. Blooming continuously from mid summer to fall on a trellis or picket fence, climbing roses can reach heights of up to 20 feet and widths of up to 6 feet.

Do not be intimidated by their thorny personalities. Put on some long, heavy gloves and check them weekly for spent blooms. The more aggressively you deadhead, the more prolifically they will bloom.

Double flower, pink cultivars such as ‘Wisely,’ ‘Eden,’ and ‘New Dawn’ make particularly nice companions for purple and blue asters, creating a soft cottage vibe in the garden.

Nasturtium

Tropaeolum majus
Nasturtium produces vibrant yellow or orange flowers that complement the purple, white and pink asters in your garden.
Scientific Name: Tropaeolum majus
  • Plant Type: Annual, perennial
  • Geographic Origin: South America, Central America
  • Size: 1-10 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 9-11

With mounds of dark green peltate (shield-shaped) leaves that can reach widths of up to 4 inches, nasturtium’s foliage is a nice contrast to aster’s more delicate leaf and stem structure. The genus contains about 80 species, ranging from small, 1 foot specimens to rambling 10 foot vines.

Perennial in zones 9 through 11, nasturtium is often grown as an annual in colder climates because it reaches great size quickly and has a unique profile. Typically nasturtiums feature large-petaled, yellow or orange blooms, which complement asters in shades of purple, white and bright pink. They bloom from mid summer to frost.

In addition to looking nice alongside your asters, nasturtium are known to repel foes such as beetles, whiteflies, and aphids. So they’ll actually keep other plants in your garden healthy. They are also completely edible, with a peppery taste resembling watercress.

Marigold

Tagetes spp
Marigolds are an indispensable companion plant that can repel pests and attract pollinators.
Scientific Name: Tagetes spp.
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico, Latin America
  • Size: 4 inches to 4 feet tall, 6 inches to 2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 2-11

Reliable season-long bloomers in vivid hues of orange and yellow, marigolds are known for being both pest resistant and pest deterrent. With fern-like foliage and a love of hot sun, marigolds are perfectly at home in the company of asters.

Easy to grow and tolerant of imperfect soil conditions, marigolds won’t compete with your asters for root space. Choose French marigolds (Tagetes patula) if you’re looking for a bushy, creeping habit to ramble beneath your asters. Or choose African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) if you’re looking for some height.

If you deadhead faded marigolds diligently, they will continue to flower beautifully until first frost. Pinch tops early for a bushy rather than leggy habit.

Shasta Daisy

Leucanthemum x superbum
Shasta Daisy produces white large flowers that look great with miniature aster flowers.
Scientific Name: Leucanthemum x superbum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Size: 9 inches to 3 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Grow Zone: 5-9

Think of these flowers from the daisy family as big sisters to your asters. They are similar in their sunny-centered, ray-like flower profile and grow in very similar conditions, but they are larger and have slightly bigger personalities.

Shasta’s white flowers and leathery, dark green foliage are a nice offset for aster’s more dainty stem structure and miniature bloom size. Blooming from mid to late summer, daisies will overlap slightly with a nice effect.

They thrive in full sun but can tolerate a bit of shade, making them a good choice for some of the more shade friendly asters like ‘Purple Dome.’

Feather Reed Grass

Calamagrostis x acutiflora
Feather Reed Grass is an ornamental grass that perfectly complements asters with its change of color with the change of seasons.
Scientific Name: Calamagrostis x acutiflora
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Size: 3-5 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 4-11

Sturdy and upright with rigid foliage, feather reed grass emerges pinkish red in spring, transitions to green, and gradually turns a golden brown in fall. Its feathery flower plumes rise 2 feet higher than its leaf blades and sway breezily on top.

When planted with asters, feather reed’s strappy foliage and vertical habit make it a fine neighbor in the landscape. Like asters, feather reed peaks in fall and looks lovely in a mixed autumn border.

Ornamental grass can be left in place through winter to provide dormant season interest as well as a wildlife food source. Cut down to the crown in early spring before new green grass emerges.

Sweet Alyssum

Lobularia maritima
Sweet Alyssum provides constant blooming until the flowering of asters.
Scientific Name: Lobularia maritima
  • Plant Type: Perennial, annual
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Size: 3-9 inches tall, 6-12 inches wide
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Grow Zone: 5-9

A blanket of dainty white flowers comes and goes all season when sweet alyssum is worked into the landscape. When planted in pots, alyssum will mound and cascade over their sides, achieving both a filler and a spiller effect. In beds, alyssum will spread out in a circular clump.

When planted with asters, alyssum provides continual color while you wait for your asters’ late season bloom. Its small stature and fluffy profile provide nice coverage for your asters’ feet.

Sheer it back once a month or so and alyssum will continue to flower just as long. And it will act as a natural mulch of sorts, keeping their roots cool and moist.

Joe Pye Weed

Eutrochium
Joe Pye Weed produces gorgeous mauve-pink flowers.
Scientific Name: Eutrochium
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Size: 3-7 feet tall, 2-4 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Grow Zone: 4-9

This late blooming, upright North American native wildflower grows in tall clumps, and its pretty mauve-pink flowers can soar to heights of at least 7 feet. Joe Pye Weed pairs nicely with some of the taller, New England aster cultivars, and can make a sturdy backdrop for varieties with more fragile stems.

Leaves are lancelot and similar in shape to asters, but significantly larger. So they look natural together. Flower heads are feathery, autumnal, and draw pollinators from everywhere.

Joe pye weed’s sweet vanilla scent can make up for asters’ relatively odorless profile. Consider it a potential .companion for larger beds and patches, and alongside asters that also seed freely. It takes up a lot of space and needs some room to ramble.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum morifolium
Chrysanthemums have double and centerless flowers of different colors.
Scientific Name: Chrysanthemum morifolium
  • Plant Type: Perennial, annual
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Size: 1-3 feet tall and wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 3-9

When you start to see chrysanthemums in the garden centers and on front porches in your neighborhood, you know fall is on its way. With full, round bouquets of autumnal blooms in colors of pink, purple, yellow, white, and red, mums are the seasonal bookends of ornamental gardening.

Similar in profile asters, mum flowers can be double flowered and centerless, or they can have daisy-like rays extending from a large disk. They are usually groomed by nurseries to be round in habit and growth.

While chrysanthemums are perennial and can return annually in zones 3-9, they need to be planted in spring to establish strong roots throughout the growing season. Late summer, store-bought mums are typically treated like annuals and thrown away with the leaves. So think ahead, if you’d like them to be perennial.

Purple Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea
Purple Coneflowers are very similar to daisies, bloom in mid-summer with lovely purple flowers.
Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Size: 2 to 5 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Grow Zone: 3-8

Another perennial with oversized yellow centers and daisy-like petals, purple coneflowers bloom in mid summer to keep the bees and butterflies happy until your asters take over in August.

These North American natives are rugged and large, providing a nice backdrop to daintier aster varieties. Since they are tall in stature, plant them behind asters for best results.

Sun loving and drought tolerant, coneflowers won’t demand much from you other than regular deadheading. Leave the last faded flower heads in place through winter and the birds will thank you.

Asparagus

Asparagus officinalis
Asparagus and asters have similar requirements for growing conditions.
Scientific Name: Asparagus officinalis
  • Plant Type: Perennial vegetable
  • Geographic Origin: Europe, Africa
  • Size: 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 2-8

Asters are well known for being an asparagus companion plant. Not only are they repellent to most insects and beetles (a common asparagus foe), but they pretty up the patch with their late season blooms.

Like asters, asparagus demands full sun and well drained soil. And it can reach significant heights at maturity. Scatter asters and asparagus together in beds for a casual arrangement, or plant neatly in alternating rows.

Blazing star

A close-up of a blazing star flower reveals its vibrant dense purple petals in exquisite detail. In the background, a cluster of similar plants creates a blurred tapestry of botanical beauty.
Blazing star blooms with unusual purple flowers resembling a bottle brush.
Scientific Name: Liatris spicata
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Size: 2-4 feet tall, 1 foot wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 3-9

Another North American native, blazing star has upright flowerheads composed of many smaller, star-like blossoms. Resembling a bottle brush or bottle rocket, blazing star shines from mid summer to early fall. When planted with asters, there will likely be some overlap in bloom time.

Like asters, blazing star thrives in full sun. They can also live in rather dry or difficult soil conditions. If spires get heavy, they should be staked for support. Blazing star’s purple, red, or white blooms and vertical habit are a nice contrast to aster’s rounded, compact form and more traditional flower shape.

Zinnia

Zinnia elegans
Zinnias pair perfectly with asters in the garden because of their variety of colors.
Scientific Name: Zinnia elegans
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: South America, Mexico
  • Size: 1-4 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 2-11

Packing a tropical punch with large, vivid flower heads of red, yellow, orange, pink, and white, zinnias are perfectly at home alongside asters. Requiring the same heavy dose of sunshine and good drainage conditions, zinnias can be low spreading and carpet-like or tall and leggy.

Flowerheads are round and multi-layered. Some have a pompon shape, while others are flat and ray-like. Their bright colors and substantial central disks draw bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds like crazy.

Zinnias do not have many insect or animal foes and are extremely easy to grow. Their foliage is a bright green with much larger leaves than asters, so they are a nice offset in the garden. Deadhead when flowers begin to fade and they’ll bloom right alongside asters until the first frost.

Cranesbill

Geranium sanguineum
Cranesbill is a fast-growing groundcover plant that creates a mulch-like effect under the asters.
Scientific Name: Geranium sanguineum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe
  • Size: 1-2 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Grow Zone: 3-9

Plentiful, cup-shaped blooms float to the top of a green leafy carpet when this perennial favorite is worked into your garden scape. Fast growing and spreading, cranesbill can have a mulch-like effect under your asters.

In warmer regions, foliage is semi-evergreen and will hang around all winter, making it behave like a groundcover. With a bloom time that begins in spring and keeps going until late summer, cranesbill delivers a colorful punch while asters are still waking up.

Flowers are similar in hue to asters, and come in shades of purple, pink, white, and blue. Leaves are a vivid green and will fill in around your asters’ stems when they are planted together.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Hylotelephium
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is an excellent companion as it requires the same well-drained soil.
Scientific Name: Hylotelephium
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe, South America
  • Size: 1-2 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Grow Zone: 3-11

Drought tolerant and extremely sturdy, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ has the same well-drained soil requirement as asters and grows nicely in their vicinity. Easily recognized by its fleshy, succulent-like foliage and dusty, rose-colored flower heads, Autumn Joy blooms in late summer and will last throughout the fall, alongside most asters.

Pink sedum and purple, white or yellow asters make lovely autumnal companions. Resistant to disease and insects, sedum is about as low maintenance as you can get. It does not need deadheading and its faded blooms hold up well through the winter, providing food for birds and foragers.

Final Thoughts

When choosing companion plants, always select materials that grow in the same sun and soil conditions. This is the first step to creating healthy, happy combinations on the patio or in the landscape.

Asters are a late season, go-to perennial because they bloom profusely for an extended period of time when everything else is dying back. They will draw birds, bees, and butterflies to your beds, creating an intense autumnal feeding frenzy. And it’s pretty cool to watch.

If your yard is well timed to ensure that something is blooming all year, focus on choosing plants that will complement your asters in bloom time, color, and stature. If your yard lacks four season interest, look for plants that will precede and ideally overlap your asters’ late summer/early fall display.

Cut them back each fall and divide them when they start to look crowded (every two or three years). This will extend their lives significantly and multiply your late season garden joy exponentially.

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