Stokes’ Aster STOKESIA

Stokes’ Aster provides something different for the front of the border, and is a good choice if your soil is light and free-draining. The 3 in. blooms are often described as looking like the flowers of the Cornflower or the China Aster, but in fact they are unique. They first appear in July and the

Flowering period: extends until the first frosts arrive – cut some of the blooms for arranging indoors. Mulch in spring and water during dry spells. Dead-head faded blooms and cut down the stems to ground level in early winter. It is a hardy plant, but it is a good idea to cover the crowns with peat or bracken if your garden is exposed or in a frost pocket.

VARIETIES: There is just one species – S. laevis (S. cyanea). The basic details are height 1-1.5 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: July-October. The leaves are long and narrow and the flowers are large and saucer-shaped with deeply-notched petals. The colour of the species is pale mauve, but there are varieties available in different colours – ‘Blue Star’ (light blue), ‘Blue Moon’ (mid-blue), ‘Superba’ (lavender-blue) and Alba’ (white).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do -thrives best in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in spring.

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