Eastern bluestar in a perennial bed covered in clusters of tiny light blue starlike flowers

Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana)

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.

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Key Details
Common Name:Bluestar or Eastern Blue star
Botanical Name:Amsonia tabernaemontana
Plant Type:Perennial
Plant Description:Spring-blooming perennial with upright mounded shape and clusters of light to medium blue flowers
Height: 2’-3’
Spread: 2’-3’
Foliage:Green, turns yellow then light brown in the fall
Flower:Small star like flowers in clusters
Bloom Time:May
Site Conditions
Climate:Zones 4-9
Soil Type:Loamy. Moist well-drained soils are best.
Soil pH:5.5-6.5
Soil Nutrients:Low
Sun:Full sun to part shade. Part sun optimal.
Specific Conditions:Windy sites may necessitate staking
Style
Style Considerations:Nice upright vase like habit. Massing and grouping are great options. Medium texture foliage. Nice fall color too.
Maintenance
Watering: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 it back about a half if it flops over in mid-summer or in fall.
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.

 

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