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Common Bluets Houstonia caerulea

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Hedyotis caerulea
  • Houstonia caerulea var. faxonorum
Phonetic Spelling
hoos-TOH-nee-uh see-ROO-lee-uh
Description

Bluet is a herbaceous perennial wildflower that may grow to a height of 6 inches. 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.

Blue flowers with yellow centers first mature in mid-spring and continue into mid-summer. This plant is showy but needs to be planted with little competition, such as lawns, path edges, or in bare areas. The spring rosettes this plant reduces can be transplanted.

This plant will bloom for an approximate period of three weeks in late spring with two types of flowers, the first having long stamens and a short style and the other having a short stamen and a long style.

Growing from seed will provide seedlings in the plants first year, and flowers in the second year.  Most of the plants growth will occur during the spring months.

This lovely, delicate, flowering plant is often found in striking patches of light blue. Houstonia species have sometimes been placed in the genus Hedyotis.  

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious disease or insect issues.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Flower Bonanza Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#small spaces#moth caterpillar host#native perennials#blue flowers#native bees#rabbit resistant#fire low flammability#NC native#perennial flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#rock garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#larval host plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#compact habit#nectar plant late spring#food source hard mast fruit#fly friendly#butterfly friendly#nectar plant midspring#Piedmont Mountains FACU#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#compact#showy#perennial#annual#butterfly garden#wildlife friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#small spaces#moth caterpillar host#native perennials#blue flowers#native bees#rabbit resistant#fire low flammability#NC native#perennial flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#rock garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#larval host plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#compact habit#nectar plant late spring#food source hard mast fruit#fly friendly#butterfly friendly#nectar plant midspring#Piedmont Mountains FACU#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#compact#showy#perennial#annual#butterfly garden#wildlife friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Houstonia
    Species:
    caerulea
    Family:
    Rubiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wildflower garden
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and Canada and U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    Eastern US
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. It serves as a host plant for the caterpillars for the moth Tjyris maculata.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 3 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 3 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are available April-August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flower stems are unbranched. Flowers are blue and have a yellow center with four stamens attached to the corolla tube. Flowers bloom February-July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves on the flower stem (opposite) are much smaller than those at the base (rosulate).
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Unbranched stems will produce one to two flowers.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Rock Wall
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Rabbits