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October 2010
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Stokes “Blue Danube” – Stokesia laevis ‘Blue Danube’ – Stoke’s Aster




Stokes aster belong to Stokesia genus and laevis species. Stokesia is a monotypic genus (has only one species), named after the English physician and botanist, Jonathan Stokes who was a friend of Linnaeus’ son. Stoke’s aster is an herbaceous perennial and can grow up to a height of 6-12 inches (15-30 cm). It has fluffy, lacy, broad and upward-facing sky blue flowers with a hint of lavender. These flowers emerge on 12-18 inches stems. The blooms appear from June to August and continue throughout the summer. It has evergreen petiolate or stalked basal leaves. The flower heads are like shaggy cornflower and are 3-4 inches (7.6-10cm) spread across. The other colors of the florets are lavender, pink and white. The flowers come in two concentric rows and the disk florets are darker in color of the same shade. The basal leaves are deep green in color and are evergreen.
Stokes aster forms a basal rosette with alternate leaves that are elliptic to lanceolate in shape and range from 10-30 cm long by 0.8-5.0 cm wide. It attracts butterflies, bees and/or birds. It can be used as a cut flower, as flower beds, border plants and in rock gardens and for landscaping. The plant grows in full sun and in average to well-drained soil. Moist, sandy soils are the best for growing this plant. In winter the wet soil causes death of the plant. If flowers are deadheaded, the bloom will continue. This plant is a native of southeastern coastal plain from South Carolina to northern Florida to Louisiana.
The other cultivators are:
• ‘Blue Moon’ has deep blue flower heads.
• ‘Bluestone’ is small, to 10 in (25 cm) high
• ‘Wyoming’ has the darkest blue flower heads.
• ‘Rosea’ has rosy-pink flower heads.
• ‘Alba’ has white flower heads.
• ‘Silver Moon’ has larger, silvery-white flower heads.

Growing Conditions for Stoke’s Aster
• This plant needs Full sun to partial shade.
• It needs soil of pH 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic), 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic), and 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral).
• Soil should be light and well-drained but also like moisture.
• Soil should be dry during winter.
• The species can be grown from seed.
• Stratify the seed for 6 weeks at 40ºF (4.4ºC).
• Germination may take several weeks.
• Once seedlings erupt, sow them outdoors in fall.
• In winter, sow in vented containers, cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
• The plant can also be grown by dividing the root ball.
• Pinch the flower head to encourage blooming.

Caring of Stoke’s aster:
• This plant needs Full sun to partial shade.
• It needs soil of pH 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic), 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic), and 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral).
• Soil should be light and well-drained but also like moisture.
• Soil should be dry during winter.
• Don’t add lime.
• Pinching off the spent flower heads encourages more flowering.
• The plant grows in Hardiness of USDA Zones 5 – 10.
• In winter it needs mulch.
• The zones should be 5 and 6 in winter.
• The plant can also be grown in late winter or spring by dividing the root clumps.
• Do not overwater as the plant doesn’t take much of the moisture.





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