Growing Stokes Aster for Cut Flowers

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Stokes aster (Stokesia laevis) is a beautiful native wildflower that’s perfect if you want to enjoy cut flowers from your garden and also provide for bees. Here’s what you need to know about growing Stokes’ aster in your garden.

This perennial has few garden pests. It stays at a manageable height, usually under two feet tall, and won’t crowd neighboring plants.

Garden needs of Stokes aster

Because it’s a native wildflower, this aster isn’t terribly picky about growing conditions here in the United States. It’s native to the southeast, and grows well in zones 5-9.

This plant prefers lots of sun and average soil conditions. In the wild, it grows in coastal areas. However, it will most likely be happy in any average, well-drained soil. Ours is growing in clay soil and has adapted well to our hot, dry summers in zone 7.

If you’d like more info on growing Stokes’ aster, this plant profile by the Missouri Botanical Garden is especially helpful.

Varieties for cut garden color

The flowers of native Stokes’ aster is a beautiful lavender blue. Gardeners and plant breeders have created many varietals with flowers that come in shades of blue, white, or pink.

‘Divinity’ is an example of a variety with white flowers. ‘Colorwheel’ is a perfect pick if you can’t decide what color you want, because blooms on a single plant change as they age. Newly opened flowers are white, then they change to lavender and blue.

I’ll admit, I’m very partial to the blue flowered varieties. However, Stokesia laevis ‘Mary Gregory’ has beautiful pastel yellow flowers that are also very charming.

Enjoying Stokes aster

Stokes aster blooms from May to July, so you’ll be able to enjoy it for most of the summer. Removing wilted, discolored blossoms when they are finished blooming will help the plant create new flowers.

Once the plant is finished blooming for the year, you can tidy up. Cut back all of the spent flowers and their flower stalks. Leave all of the leaves growing close to the ground.

Stokes aster is a lovely cottage garden flower that also benefits native pollinators. It’s long vase life and charming colors make it a favorite cut flower of mine!

I think it looks especially sweet with yarrow and thyme from my herb garden. Find my bouquet recipe for aster and yarrow bud vases here!