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Purple Bluets Houstonia purpurea

Previously known as:

  • Hedyotis purpurea
Phonetic Spelling
hoos-TOH-nee-uh pur-PUR-ee-ah
Description

The Large Houstonia has broad terminal clusters of three or more blooms on branching, hairy stems. The flowers have four lavender-blue to almost white petals that fuse into a deep tube. Usually the central flower opens first. In its natural habitat, it can be found in many locations, such as on well-drained slopes, along streams and lakes, hardwood floodplains, moist woods, rocky upland forests, rocky bluffs, pastures, and limestone glades.  

It can be grown as a ground cover that can be mowed.  To allow it to self seed, avoid mowing until it has set its seed.  

Although this is a short-lived plant, its self seeding properties allow the plant to appear year after year.

It is sometimes confused with Houstonia longifolia, the difference being that the leaves along the stem are wider and rounded at the base and have sepals that are longer when in bloom.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Snails and slugs are common insects of this plant.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Houstonia purpurea var. montana
    Very rare, endangered.
Houstonia purpurea var. montana
Tags:
#deciduous#vigorous#full sun tolerant#native perennials#slopes#NC native#summer flowers#bushy#native garden#groundcover#self-seeding#spring interest#native groundcover#pollinator plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#groundcovers that can be mowed#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#perennial#butterfly garden#pollinator garden#wildflower#moth friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Houstonia purpurea var. montana
    Very rare, endangered.
Houstonia purpurea var. montana
Tags:
#deciduous#vigorous#full sun tolerant#native perennials#slopes#NC native#summer flowers#bushy#native garden#groundcover#self-seeding#spring interest#native groundcover#pollinator plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#groundcovers that can be mowed#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#perennial#butterfly garden#pollinator garden#wildflower#moth friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Houstonia
    Species:
    purpurea
    Family:
    Rubiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native wildflower makes a great ground cover.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Native to Central and Eastern US
    Distribution:
    Eastern U.S., AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Insects attracted by the flowers include long and short tongued bees, flies, butterflies, skippers and beetles.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Defines Paths
    Easy to Grow
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Native Plant
    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:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits grow as a capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    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:
    Small 1/4" flowers appear in late spring to early summer and are present for approximately 1 month. The petals are fused into a cup or tube shape.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The 1-2" leaves are three-veined, sessile, and appear on branching, hairy stems. They can be elliptical, lanceolate to ovate. Basal leaves are not present when the plant is in bloom.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems can be green or purple and 4 angled.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Short-lived