Eastern Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is a native to North America perennial that typically blooms in May. It has an wonderful upright mounded shape and gets covered in clusters of tiny blue flowers. It grows 2-3 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide and does best in full to part sun. Any less, and it may need staking to keep it upright. Eastern Bluestar handles a range of soils and, once established, is somewhat drought tolerant—a terrific perennial for a mixed perennial garden that also has nice yellow fall foliage too. Eastern Bluestar takes a few years to get up to size but its well worth the wait. It’s deer resistant and doesn’t have a lot of pest problems. Found in zones 4-9.
Plant Type: Perennial
Plant Name: Eastern Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana)
Plant Description: Spring-blooming perennial with upright mounded shape and clusters of light to medium blue flowers
Foliage: Green, turns yellow then light brown in the fall
Flower: Small start like flowers in clusters
Bloom time: May
Climate: Zones 4-9
Soil: Loamy soil, pH from 6.0 to 6.5
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Specific Conditions: Deer resistant and pest resistant
A perfect perennial garden plant that offers a nice transition between lower and taller plants in the garden. Great early flowers and nice fall foliage that turns yellow.
Watering: Moist well-drained soils are best. Watering weekly or biweekly if needed is typically best. Can handle some drought conditions.
Mulching: Not required but always helps especially if you need to add organic matter to the soil.
Fertilizing: Not needed if you have healthy humus-rich soil with plenty of organic matter.
Weeding: Does a great job at stifling weeds due to its dense mound like foliage that keeps most weeds from getting through.
Deadheading: You can cut back the yellowing foliage once it yellows and falls to the ground when it starts to go dormant.
Staking: Eastern Bluestar needs full sun to have a nice compact habit. It will flop around if it doesn’t get enough sun. Consider staking in part shade conditions. Hoop stakes work well if placed early.
Dividing: Yes, in early spring as they emerge or early fall
Transplanting: Early spring when they start to appear or early fall is best but anytime works with sufficient watering.
Pruning: See deadheading
Pests: If planted in the right conditions it has few pests.
Winterizing: Cut back any stems that remain 2-3 inches above the ground after the first hard frost or two (when the ground freezes). You can also use straw or pile some leaves over the plants.