Bluestar: it blooms with star-shaped light blue flowers

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

Family: Apocynaceae

Growing conditions

• Sun: Full sun to part shade

• Soil: Average, well drained

• Moisture: Average

Care

Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.

• Pruning: None needed.

• Fertiliser: None needed.

Propagation

• By seed or division.

Pests and diseases

• Vulnerable to rust.

Garden notes

• 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.

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