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Stokesia Peachie’s Pick Is a Favorite Stokes Aster

Virtues: Stokesia Peachie’s Pick provides the frilled, bright purple flowers we expect from a Stokes’s aster, but it boasts a longer-than-average bloom time, starting a bit later in the summer, right when the garden needs a pop of color. The stems are also less prone to flopping. The flowers attract butterflies.

Stokesia Peachie's Pick

Common name: ’Peachie’s Pick’ Stokes’s aster

Botanical name:Stokesia laevis ‘Peachie’s Pick

Exposure: Full sun

Season: Mid- to late summer and fall, for flowers

Flowers: Vivid, 2- to 3-inch, purple ray-type flowers open beginning in midsummer, continuing into fall if the spent flowers are removed (deadheaded). Fringed edges to the petals give the flowers a ruffled look.

Foliage: Dark green, long and narrow leaves line upright stems.

Habit: Stokesia Peachie’s Pick is a perennial that dies to the ground at the end of the growing season in the northern part of its growing range but remains evergreen in the southern part. In all areas it puts forth fresh growth beginning in spring. Over the season it grows to about 18 inches tall with a slighty greater width. The stems are held stiffly upright, creating a dense mass.

Origins:Stokesia laevis is a perennial native to the southeastern United States. The variety 'Peachie’s Pick' was selected by Mississippi gardener and florist Peachie Saxon in her own garden.

How to grow Stokesia Peachie’s Pick: Site in full sun in any type of soil that rains well. Once established it can tolerate periods of drought, but it blooms best with regular watering. Remove spent flowers to encourage continued bloom. In the north, cut away old stems before spring to make room for new growth. In the south, where it is evergreen, the plant can be trimmed down to its base in the fall for a fresh flush of foliage heading into winter. USDA Zones 5–9. May require the protection of a winter mulch in Zone 5.

Image courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.