Containing daisies, sunflowers and asters, the Asteraceae family, also called the Compositae family, is a group of more than 22,000 diverse species of flowers. Flowers in this expansive family tend to be herbaceous and are often characterized by cheery, densely petaled flower heads. Native to almost every continent, species of the daisy family are cultivated throughout the world for their lovely blooms.
A native of the southeastern United States, Stokes' aster (Stokesia laevis) is an herbaceous member of the daisy family that can be grown in colors ranging from blue to white, lilac and even yellow, depending on the cultivar. The low-growing perennial boasts silky flowers and long, deep-green leaves. Stokes' aster can be grown with ease in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 10, though it should be mulched for protection in the chillier zones 5 and 6. Stokes' aster will grow best in a light, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Water the plant often during the growing season, enough to keep the soil moist to the touch. Water infrequently during the winter and remove spent flowers to keep the plant looking fresh.
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), also called Mexican aster, is a showy member of the daisy family that produces fat, brightly colored blooms in shades ranging from hot pink to purple or white. The plants sport wiry, mid-green foliage that has a slightly hairy appearance. A native of Mexico and the southwestern United States, cosmos will do best in zones 9 to 10, though it can also be grown as a tender annual in zones as low as 5. Cosmos should be grown in bright, full sun in well-drained, sandy soil. Water as needed, and water frequently during the summer to keep the plant lush and healthy. The hardy plant is invasive in some states, so be sure to check an invasive plant list before cultivating the flower.
Painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum), also called Persian insect flower because of its ability to attract butterflies, is a perennial member of the daisy family that boasts colorful blooms in shades ranging from white to red and pink. The flower is a late-spring blooming plant that will produce its brightly colored flowers well into summer. The plant boasts lush, rich-green foliage, and the stiff stalks of the plant make painted daisy a good addition to a bouquet. Painted daisies grow best in full sunlight in zones 4A to 10A, preferably in soil that is either neutral or acidic. Painted daisy should be watered as needed: more in the summer, less in the cooler months.