Chasing after gold often results in tragedy. But go ahead and chase Arkansas bluestar: Chase it, capture it, and bury it in your yard. Come fall, you’ll have more gold treasure than the Dread Pirate Roberts. This native perennial, which blooms with star-shaped light blue flowers in spring and summer, has very narrow green leaves that turn brilliant gold in autumn. Even a small clump will turn heads, but you can plant several together or combine Arkansas bluestar with fall-blooming perennials like asters and goldenrods for even more late-season drama.
Common name: Bluestar, Arkansas bluestar, threadleaf bluestar
Botanical name: Amsonia hubrichtii
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 3 feet
• Sun: Full sun to part shade
• Soil: Average, well drained
• Moisture: Average
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertiliser: None needed.
• By seed or division.
Pests and diseases
• Vulnerable to rust.
• Grow Arkansas bluestar among spring bulbs, where its feathery green summer leaves will hide fading bulb foliage.
• After it blooms in spring, cut the stems of Arkansas bluestar back by about 6 inches to help prevent the plant from flopping over.
• Butterflies like the blooms.
• For the strongest impact, plant several Arkansas bluestar together.
All in the family
• Several relatives of Arkansas bluestar are also garden favourites, including willow bluestar (A. tabernaemontana) and blue milkweed (A. ciliata). Several Amsonia hybrids are also available: A. ‘Blue Ice’ is a hardy, compact cultivar with bright blue flowers, and A. ‘Seaford Skies’ tends to be bigger than the species.
• Other members of the Apocynaceae or dogbane family that might be in your garden are oleander, vinca, and mandevilla.