Stokes Aster–Stokesia laevis Plant Care Guide
Stokesia laevis is a species of flowering plant native to southeastern North America, the only species in the genus Stokesia. It is in the daisy family. The flowers appear in the summer and are purple (sometimes blue, pale purple, or even white). The plant is cultivated and several cultivars are available. It is sometimes known as Cornflower aster or Stokes’ aster.
Like a few other plants (such as some species of Vernonia), it contains vernolic acid, a vegetable oil with commercial applications.
It is named after Jonathan Stokes (1755–1831), English botanist and member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham.
Image by TANAKA Juuyoh
By Becca Badgett
Sustainable and xeric gardens benefit from the addition of the stokes aster. Care of this charming plant is minimal once the stokes aster plant is established in the garden. You can grow stokes asters for a burst of spring and summer color against a backdrop of evergreen shrubs and native foliage plants for a pleasing display.
Stokes Asters Flowers
Stokes aster flowers come in a range of pale and perky shades. The muted yellow cultivar ‘Mary Gregory’ may be combined with the shorter ‘Purple Parasol’ for compatible, long lasting color and frilly texture in the summer flower bed.
Stokes asters, Stokesia laevis, have flowers as big as 4 inches, with frilly petals and intricate centers. Stokes asters flowers bloom from late spring through summer in shades of silvery white, electric blue and rosy pink. The species is native to the southern U.S, and depending on location and stokes aster care may last for the entire summer.
How To Grow Stokes Asters
Grow stokes aster plant in a sunny location in more northern areas, while stokes asters flowers offer longer bloom with protection from glaring afternoon sun in hotter places. Stokes aster care includes keeping new plantings well watered after planting. Once established growing stokes asters are drought tolerant. Grow stokes asters in slightly acidic, well-draining soil for the best performance from the stokes aster plant.
The stokes aster plant grows from 10 to 24 inches tall and may be planted with other flowering native plants such as blanket flower for a summer show. Divide clumps of the stokes aster plant every 3 to 4 years for more perennial flowers. Stokes aster care should include the deadheading of spent blooms at the base of the stem. Some flower heads may be left on the plant to dry for seeds to grow stokes asters for next year.
Now that you’ve learned the beauty of this plant and of how easy stokes aster care can be, try planting this great native in your flower garden. It will multiply so that you have many more to place in your display in just a few years.
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