A recipient of the Perennial Plant of the Year award in 2011, blue star has only recently made its way into ornamental horticulture. Use this clump-forming perennial, which bears blue flowers that resemble small stars, in a border or wildflower garden, a container, or at a woodland edge.
Garden Plans For Bluestar
Blue and Purple Blooms
This plant's flowers range in color from the dark blue of closed buds to the soft powdery blue of open flowers—often appearing as a two-tone effect. Even when not in bloom, this airy, graceful plant displays willowlike foliage that in some varieties turns golden yellow in the fall—a rarity among herbaceous perennials. Some newer, more ornamental varieties feature stems that range in color from dark purple to nearly black.
How to Grow Bluestar
Blue star's care depends on the species being grown. Generally, blue star prefers fertile, well-drained soils. Moisture requirements vary. Amsonia hubrichtii, a more drought-tolerant variety, does not require constant moisture. Other species, such as Amsonia tabernaemontana, are less drought-tolerant and prefer evenly moist soils. (Check with the supplier for plant specifics.)
Plant blue star in full sun to get the most spectacular color and prevent flopping (which is especially important with taller varieties). In regions with very warm summers, plant blue star in part shade. Prune any floppy plants (especially those growing in part shade) to make them sturdier. Cutting back blue star a few inches after blooming creates a tighter habit and prevents the plant from aggressively self-seeding. Divide the plant in spring or root plant cuttings in early summer. Blue star is not susceptible to serious insect problems or diseases, although rust is a possibility.
New Types of Bluestar
When blue star first came to market, it was seed-grown so plants displayed variability. The development of named cultivars has helped create uniform plants that suit mass plantings. Breeders also look to create dwarf plants with multiseasonal interest and new varieties with richer, deeper foliage colors.