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Plant Profile: Stokes Aster (Stokesia laevis ‘Blue Danube’)

stokesia1I always look forward to the flowering of Stokesia. It only blooms for 3-4 weeks in my garden but its flowers are very special. Their color is a fusion of soft lavender blues and their texture is a delicate confection of petals that is in contrast to the substantial bulk of their form. Each flower is 3” across and consists of two rows of outer petals, the outer set lobed and larger than the inner set. Inner, slender petals are topped with a mass of stamens. Now THAT is a spectacular looking flower and plants should be placed at the front of the border so that you can enjoy their unique and subtle beauty. And by all means, cut them and use them in arrangements; they have a long vase life.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Bloom: Silvery lavendar-blue, 3” flowers in summer.

Size: 12-18” H x 24” W.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Average well drained soil.

Fertilizer: Annual mulch will provide adequate nutrients.

Hardiness: Zones 5-9.

Care: Dead head to prolong bloom. Cut back to basal foliage after blooming to refresh foliae. Mulch in zone 5.

Pests and Diseases: None of importance.

Propagation: Divide in spring. Even small divisions will root easily.

Companion plants: White or pink garden phlox such as ‘David or ‘Bright Eyes’, pink coneflowers, pink long blooming roses such as The Fairy or Pink Knockout, lemon-yellow Tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’), Lamb’s Ear.

Outstanding Selections:
‘Wyoming’ (rich deep blue)
‘Silver Moon’ (white flowers)
‘Mary Gregory’ (yellow flowers)

Comments: Deer and rabbit resistant; attracts butterflies.

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