Stokesia laevis, commonly known as Stokes’ aster, is native to wetlands, bottomlands, wet pinewoods, savannas and ditches in the southeastern US. It is an evergreen perennial. This flower is new to our Sunnyvale garden for 2019. Purchased from the Annie’s Annual collection at Yamagami Garden Nursery in Cupertino.
This particular cultivar, ‘Omega Skyrocket’, features fluffy, cornflower-like, violet blue flowers (3-4 inches across) each with notched rays surrounding a pincushion center of feathery disk florets. Flowers bloom from early to mid-summer (sometimes with a fall rebloom) atop generally erect, leafy stems (up to 3.5 feet tall) that rise from a basal rosette of lanceolate to elliptic, medium green leaves (to 6″ long). Stem leaves are stalkless and smaller than basal leaves. Leaves are evergreen in warm winter climates. Long summer bloom.
Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates filtered sunlight but prefers full sun. Prefers moist, sandy soils, but has surprisingly good drought and heat tolerance. Wet soil in winter is the main cause of death for this plant. A well-drained soil is essential. Deadhead individual spent flowers and remove spent flowering stems to encourage additional bloom. Plants can be cut back to basal foliage after bloom.
Genus name honors English physician/botanist Jonathan Stokes (1755-1831).
- Type: Herbaceous perennial
- Family: Asteraceae
- Zone: USDA 5 to 9
- Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
- Spread: 2.50 to 3.00 feet
- Bloom Time: June to September
- Bloom Description: White to pale blue
- Sun: Full sun
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Low
- Flower: Showy, Good Cut
- Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought