Stokes’ aster or cornflower aster is native to wetlands, bottomlands, savannas and ditches mostly along the coastal plain from North Carolina to Florida to Louisiana. This cultivar is noted for its dwarf stature.
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October Skies is a selection of a native to the northeast and has masses of small [about one inch] soft lavender-blue daisy-like flowers with yellow centers that bloom late August into October. The foliage is narrow creating a fine texture. The gray-green color is pleasing all summer and no powdery mildew was reported. Evaluators rated the foliage as good and praised it for its lack of disease issues. It is also aromatic when touched. In all but one site, this aster was not browsed by deer or rabbits.
Silene caroliniana can be found in rocky, calcareous woods and outcrops from New Hampshire to Ohio and south to Missouri and Alabama. It is not found in Illinois. Pink round flowers with wedge-shaped petals less than an inch wide appear from late May through early June (about a two-week bloom period). A cultivar of a native, ‘Short and Sweet’ has flowers that attract nectar-seeking insects and butterflies. The sticky flowering stems give this plant the common name “catchfly.”
Dozens of burgundy-red, knob-shaped flower heads on wand-like stems, to 30 inches tall; blooms in late July through September. The foliage is pinnately compound. Each medium green leaflet is 2 inches long, lightly textured and toothed. However, when the Japanese beetles start eating holes in the leaves, they become brown and unsightly.