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Houstonia caerulea

Common Name(s):
Common bluets
Annuals, Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Wildflowers

Houstonia caerulea, commonly called common bluets, is a small, delicate perennial that is found growing in compact tufts, 8 in. high. The plants may cover broad expanses.

This lovely, delicate, flowering plant is often found in striking patches of light blue. The Star Violet (H. pusilla), to 4 (10 cm) high, has a tiny purple flower and occurs in fields and open woods from South Dakota east to Maryland and south to Florida and Texas. A tall southern species, 6-16 in (15-40 cm) high, Large Houstonia (H. purpurea), has 3-5 ribbed, opposite, ovate leaves, and white or pink flowers. It occurs from Nebraska northeast to Maine and south to Florida and Texas. These and certain other Houstonia species have sometimes been placed in the genus Hedyotis.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:   Spring           Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Summer

Wildlife Value: This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. Its flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators.


Spring to early summer
Full sun, partial shade, shade
3-6 in.
Spatula-shaped leaves occur in basal rosettes on the common bluet. The stems are unbranched. The leaves are opposite with a smooth margin. The leaves that originate at the base of the stem are large, while the two leaves on the stem are small.
The tiny flowers of the common bluet are pale blue with yellow centers, tubular, four-lobed, solitary, and terminal. Each has four sepals, four united petals and four stamens which are attached to the corolla tube.
Herbaceous perennial
Bluets do well when grown among grasses of lawns and fields, but care should be taken not to mow them before they have set seed. Bluets are sometimes planted as a delicate, attractive addition to rock gardens. It does best in moist to well-drained soil with sun to partial shade. Usually found in open woods, meadows, and clearings.
Life Cycle:
Annual or perennial
sun, annual, summer, blue, yellow, wildflower, perennial, while, partial shade, small, spring, butterflies

NCCES plant id: 2613

Houstonia caerulea Houstonia caerulea
Phillip Bouchard, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Houstonia caerulea Houstonia caerulea
Fritz Flohr Reynolds, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Houstonia caerulea Houstonia caerulea
Matt Bright, CC BY-NC - 4.0
Houstonia caerulea Houstonia caerulea
Debbie Roos