Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, July 5, 2013

Peachie's Pick Stokesia



Although, Stokesia laevis is not native to the Central Basin or for that matter to Tennessee, it is one of my favorite wildflowers. I fell in love with 'Peachie's Pick' the first time I saw the fluffy lilac blue flowers in full bloom and it's by far the best Stokes aster for good looks.

It's blooming in my garden right now, just in time to mingle with the day lilies and the phloxes.


Peachie's Pick' Stokesia is an evergreen perennial with a luscious lavender-blue cornflower like flower, that blooms for a long time and mixes well with other wildflowers.

It is also a great plant to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your native garden. Studies have shown that Stokes Aster attracted 4 times the number of honeybees; bumblebees; native bees (including Halictid bees); flies; butterflies, moths & skippers; beetles and wasps than other native plants. That's great news for gardeners in Southeastern states who are committed to creating a habitat for native pollinators. It's good news for any of us who are committed to providing a habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. I find that studies like this one conducted in Georgia reinforce how important native plants are to habitat restoration and creation.
 I don't mind mixing a few plants from other regions to the Central mix at Clay and Limestone. Stokesia, unlike some exotics that are merely pretty faces in a garden, is a major butterfly, Bumblebee, hoverfly and beetle attractor.
Skippers love Stokesia!
My dear readers, you don't have to garden in the Southeastern US to grow 'Peachie's Pick'. It will be happy in your Zone5 to Zone9 gardens if you treat it right! Just remember, it needs good drainage, even moisture and a decent amount of sun. Don't even think about planting it in heavy clay soil that hasn't been amended to improve drainage or it will disappear on you in a season. Those of you further north be sure to mulch it for the winter...but remember, wet winters and poor drainage are the kiss of death for this pretty. Trust me, I've lost many a stokesia to winter drowning.

In my book, it's another practically perfect plant for your garden.

xoxogail

PS This beauty was originally found growing in Peachie Saxon's Mississippi garden many years ago and she generously shared it with the gardening world!

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

23 comments:

  1. So beautiful!
    I especially like the photo with the Bumblebee.

    I have a question about the PP Pink Phlox. I have two clumps of pink phlox. One clump is blooming now; the other blooms later in the summer. The one blooming now is in the sun, the other is more shaded. Would the sun/shade difference cause the differnet bloom times, or do you think I have two different phloxes? I cannot remember where I got either one of them. Any help you can give me in identifying phlox is greatly appreciated.
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lea, I read your question wrong. Depending upon where you're gardening, your PPPP might be blooming now, we are several months ahead of northern locations and ours bloomed in May and June this year. I can tell you that there's never been a year when PPPP bloomed in one spot months ahead of another. Check the foliage and compare it to descriptions of the various phloxes to see if it's all PPPP or another fab phlox. gail

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Gail
      I am taking close-up photos (blooms and leaves) of the one blooming now, so that when the other blooms, I can better compare them. Blooms began to open in mid-June, and they are still blooming well. No spots or streaks on the stems of either one, so I guess that rules out the Phlox maculata. So we are making some progress in identification.
      Have a wonderful week!
      Lea
      Lea's Menagerie

      PS. I am south of you in northeast Mississippi

      Delete
  2. Lea, it could, but almost all my Phlox paniculatas bloom at the same time even in the shade. They've started blooming recently and spread the opening time over a few weeks. Phlox glaberrima(smooth phlox) has narrow leaves similar to PPPP and blooms in May; Phlox pilosa (PPPP) blooms April into June and Phlox maculata blooms August through September (look for spots on the stems). Hope this helps. gail

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very pretty flower, love the colour.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They are lovely plants. I am afraid I haven't been successful growing this beauty. Reading this makes me want to try again.

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  5. I've had difficulty growing Stokesia too. It might be the even moisture that's the problem ... neither Mother Nature nor the HG are particularly good about that!

    Re Les' phlox, could he be growing Phlox paniculata? That's more of a summer bloomer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love this plant! Mine just finished blooming so I cut it back; I hope it will flower a second time. And if not, I can enjoy the blooms of the second copy of the plant I found a few yards away, which is just beginning to bloom.

    It's flowered well for me this year in spite of the absurd amount of rain we've gotten, but it's planted high in my rain garden so the drainage should be very good.

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  7. I am so glad to see the pollinators on this plant because I just got one today at the nursery. I never included it in my garden before and it was calling my name. I hope is is as pretty as yours. The buds are not open yet, but maybe next week. I love that first image Gail, so pretty.

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  8. As usual, your photos are outstanding. Makes me wish I had more sun!

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  9. I have been tempted by this plant in catalogs but have never put it in the garden. I just have to figure out a space for it!

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  10. Love this plant as it blooms in the heat of summer and loves to shine although not sure how it will take our humid wet summer this year..we shall see.

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  11. That's a really pretty one! I love stokesia too even though the foliage is a bit lacking in my opinion. The flowers more than make up for it. Your photos are exquisite!

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  12. That color is lovely! There's something about that range of blues--from medium French blue to Cornflower blue to periwinkle to bright lilac like your Stokesia! Gorgeous. And the form of that type of Aster is pleasant, too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really appreciate the information, especially the warnings that we would never find in the catalogs.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  14. What more can I say--you've convinced me I need this in the garden! Such beautiful blue/purple blooms. Wet winters have also done in my agastaches nearly every year, but that doesn't stop me from planting new ones each spring. A butterfly and bee magnet is worth re-planting.

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  15. I love the way you keep reminding me of all the flowers that are important pollinators. I did plant agastache in the vegetable garden this year, and I have other good pollinators here and there.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the blooms on Stokes asters. They are one of the first plants I put into the curb area. I have a few kinds, but don't remember their names. I have seen some insects on them, including a bee or hoverfly that has green on it.

    Lovely photos!

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  17. Although I knew the story behind this plant's name, I still keep expecting it to be some sort of soft orange in color, maybe something like a peach.

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  18. I grow Stokes Aster for our bees. It is a flower they visit often. It grows well in our lean, draining soil but at zone 5 I do occasionally loose it over the winter. Worth replanting though.

    ReplyDelete
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