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Woodland Bluestar Amsonia tabernaemontana

Phonetic Spelling
am-SO-nee-ah tab-er-nay-mon-TAY-nah
Description

Bluestar is a native herbaceous perennial that is found most often in wet, sandy, rich, open and rocky woods, and thickets. It has an erect, clump-forming growth pattern. Clusters of 3/4", light blue, star-like flowers open in late spring atop erect, leafy stems. Its narrow, willow-shaped, dull green foliage may turn yellow in fall. The plant can be cut close to the ground or left for winter interest.

Grows best in full sun. Where this is not possible, the plant may need to be staked due to its floppy form. Cutting the stems back after flowing will create a more rounded, neater appearance.  

Drought tolerant once established.

One of our most beautiful native species, Amsonia makes a delicate display from the mountains to the coast. The light blue flowers are followed by elongated, pod-like fruits containing hard, black seeds that can be used for propagation. This plant is resistant to damage by deer and other herbivores due to the foliage containing a toxic white latex.

When propagating by seed, the seedlings will germinate quickly, but the plant will not flower until the second year. Division can be accomplished in spring or fall when the plant is dormant, ensuring that each division has at least one eye. Deadhead to prevent self-seeding.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Rust may occur.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Backyard Grouping
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Storm Cloud', var. salicifolia, var. tabernaemontana
Tags:
#sun#full sun#partial shade#rain garden#blue#drought tolerant#perennial#resistant#wildlife plant#showy#blue flowers#cut flowers#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#fall fruits#spring interest#native wildflower#wildflower garden#early spring flowers#food source fall#food source nectar#clay soils tolerant#non-evasive#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Storm Cloud', var. salicifolia, var. tabernaemontana
Tags:
#sun#full sun#partial shade#rain garden#blue#drought tolerant#perennial#resistant#wildlife plant#showy#blue flowers#cut flowers#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#fall fruits#spring interest#native wildflower#wildflower garden#early spring flowers#food source fall#food source nectar#clay soils tolerant#non-evasive#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Amsonia
    Species:
    tabernaemontana
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA
    Wildlife Value:
    Hummingbirds, carpenter bees, hummingbird moths, as well as butterflies like Mourning Cloak, feed on the nectar from the blooms.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Textural
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Attractive, narrow beanlike pods form after flowering.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Clusters of soft light blue, star-like flowers appear in April. They may be hidden by the upper leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Narrow oval leaves that are bright green on the surface and pale green underneath. They turn a showy golden-yellow in the fall.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    A light-green multi-stemmed perennial. After flowering, the 2-3' stems may need to be cut back by up to half the plants' height to maintain a neater appearance.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought