Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates filtered sunlight, but prefers full sun. Prefers moist soils, but has surprisingly good drought tolerance. Wet soil in winter is the main cause of death for this plant. A well-drained soil is essential. Appreciates a winter mulch in the northern parts of its growing range. Deadhead individual spent flowers and remove spent flowering stems to encourage additional bloom.
Stokesia laevis, commonly known as Stokes' aster, is native to wetlands, bottomlands, wet pinewoods, savannas and ditches mostly along the coastal plain from North Carolina to Florida to Louisiana. It is an evergreen perennial that typically grows to 1-2' tall. It features fluffy, cornflower-like, violet blue flowers (to 2 1/2” 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 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.
Genus name honors English physician/botanist Jonathan Stokes (1755-1831).
Specific epithet means smooth.
No serious insect or disease problems. Flower stems tend to flop, particularly after a strong Midwestern thundershower.
Border fronts or cottage gardens. Best in small groupings.