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Florida Natives: Stokes’ Aster

Florida Natives: Stokes’ Aster

‘Mel’s Blue’ Stokes’ Aster. Photo credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension.

Florida is home to some of the most beautiful flowering perennials. An exceptional one for the panhandle landscape is Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis) as it is showy, deer resistant and easy to care for. Unlike other perennials, it generally is evergreen in our region so it provides interest all year.

Upright habit and profuse blooming of ‘Mel’s Blue’ Stokes’ Aster. Photo credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension.

The original species of Stokes’ aster has purplish-blue flowers but cultivars have been developed with flowers in shades of white, yellow, rosy-pink and a deep blue. The flowers are large, eye-catching beauties that bloom in spring and summer. They also last well as a cut flower. You will find that bees and butterflies will appreciate their nectar! Remove spent flowers after blooms have faded in order to encourage repeat flowering.

A location in your landscape that provides part sun with well-drained rich soil is best for this perennial. Stokes’ aster is native to moist sites so it does best with regular moisture.

Stokes’ aster attracts butterflies like this black swallowtail. Photo credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension.

As with many perennials, the plant will form a large clump after a few years; this gives you the opportunity to divide the clump in the fall and spread it out in your landscape or share the joy with your gardening buddies.

For more information:

Gardening with Perennials in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Mary Derrick – mderrick@ufl.edu

Residential Horticulture Extension Agent for Santa Rosa County

Gardening in the Panhandle

Permanent link to this article: http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/23/florida-natives-stokes-aster/