2020 – Stokes’ Aster
Despite being native to wet areas, this herbaceous perennial has a surprisingly high tolerance for heat and drought once established. It is native to the Southeastern United States and grows in hardiness zones 5 to 9 with average moisture and well-drained soil. It grows to 2 feet tall and spreads 1 to 1.5 feet, which makes it a great option for planting along the edge the of garden beds or water edge. In full sun, the blue flowers will bloom from May to June and attract butterflies and other pollinators.
Stokes’ Aster can be used in the landscape, in pots, and as a cut flower. There are several different cultivars of Stokes’ Aster and they vary in size and color. Stokesia laevis ‘Alba’ has a similar size, blooms June through September, and has white flower. Stokesia ‘Peachie’s Pick’ has a blue flower and is more compact. Stokesia ‘Colorwheel’ has white flowers that change to lavender then dark purple.
After the flower is spent, they can be removed to promote a second bloom. Stokesia laevis pairs nicely with pale yellow flowers and makes a great addition to home landscapes.