Bluestar, Amsonia

Plant type: Spring-blooming herbaceous perennial
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

Valued for its spring blooms, fine texture, low maintenance and great fall foliage, bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) produces brilliant blue star-like flowers in mid- to late-spring. Delicate blooms are about 3/4 inch wide. Willowy green foliage provides interest for the rest of the growing season, adding a fine texture to the perennial border. Leaves are glossy green and narrow in shape, providing its fine texture. Excellent bright yellow fall foliage makes this plant stand out in the perennial border. Plant size is two to three feet tall by two to three feet wide. Native to U.S. In its native habitats, bluestar is found along riverbanks or in the woods.

How to use it: In masses or as a specimen plant. For use in a mixed perennial border in the middle to back of the border or in a rock garden.

Culture: Low-maintenance perennial. Performs best in partial shade in a moist, loamy, well-drained soil. Also tolerates full sun if provided with enough moisture. Will get floppy if planted in too much shade. After flowering, cut back stems by about a third to half the size of the plant to encourage branching and a bushier plant. Cut down to the ground in late winter. Drought tolerant. Primarily propagated through seed or division. No serious pest or disease problems.

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