Stokes’ asters have always been among my favorite native perennials though I have typically only grown them in small drifts of five to seven plants. Now at the Columbus Botanical Garden I’ve got more than a hundred. They are an absolute knockout, and the American lady butterflies are finding them to be a real feast. Striking blue flowers and fiery orange butterflies is a combination that is hard to beat in any garden.
The Stokes’ aster is known botanically as Stokesia laevis and is native in the South from Louisiana eastward to North Carolina. Despite this Southern flavor, they are cold-hardy to zones 5 and 6 with a good layer of mulch. This means almost everyone can enjoy their exquisite blooms.
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