Stokesia laevis 'Purple Parasols'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 6 Professionals
Common Name: Stokes' aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Deep violet purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought

Culture

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. These plants appreciate winter mulch in the northern parts of their growing range (USDA Zone 5). Deadhead individual spent flowers and remove spent flowering stems to encourage additional bloom. Plants can be cut back to basal foliage after bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

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.

‘Purple Parasols’ features fluffy, cornflower-like flowers (3-4” across) on generally erect, leafy stems growing to 18” tall. U.S. Patent documents describe the flower color as initially light blue, becoming darker blue, then bluish purple to reddish purple and finally dark hot pink. U.S. Plant Patent issued October 27, 1998.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for caterpillars. Flower stems tend to flop, particularly after a strong Midwestern thundershower.

Garden Uses

Border fronts or cottage gardens. Moist areas along ponds, streams or water gardens. Small groupings or mass.