Stokesia laevis 'Colorwheel'
Common Name: Stokes' aster 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: White aging to lavender and purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought


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.

'Colorwheel' features multi-colored flowers blooming on the same plant at the same time. In St. Louis, the fluffy, cornflower-like flowers (to 3” across) generally bloom from June to September. Flowers open pure white, but gradually darken over time to various shades of lavender and finally dark purple with retained white centers. As the bloom season progresses, new white flowers continue to bloom on the same stalks in sharp contrast with the older darkening lavender and purple flowers. Branched, generally erect, leafy flowering stalks typically grow to 18-24” tall. U.S. Plant Patent PP12,718 issued June 25, 2002.


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


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