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AMSONIA tabernaemontana

Image of Amsonia tabernaemontana

James H. Schutte

Family

Apocynaceae

Botanical Name

AMSONIA tabernaemontana

Plant Common Name

Eastern Bluestar

General Description

A shrubby wildflower from the eastern United States, eastern bluestar offers loads of delicate, starry blue flowers in late spring to early summer. Its dense, bushy appearance and crisp, green leaves continue to look attractive through fall. A native of open forests as well as meadows, this herbaceous perennial thrives in both full sun and partial shade locations.

The lance-shaped, rich green leaves of eastern bluestar are smooth and sometimes glossy. The upright stems are hairless and emit white, milky latex if cut or damaged. Towards the end of spring or in early summer, the stem tips become covered with clusters of starry flowers with five slender petals that funnel down into a tubular throat. Butterflies and other insect pollinators visit the blooms and elongated, upright seedpods, which turn from green to tan, follow. The seed pods remain visually interesting through to fall but should be cut back if volunteer plants are not desired.

This carefree wildflower grows well in full sun or partial shade, though it tends to be leggier and less bushy when grown in lower light. Fertile loams or sandy soils with average to good moisture are preferred. The seedheads may be cut back midseason to keep plants from self-sowing, but this is a messy process because of the copious amounts of natural latex the plants emit. Trimmed plants will develop a new flush of foliage by fall.

This is a pretty wildflower for informal beds and wildflower gardens. Its foliage is the larval food for the coral hairstreak butterfly (Satyrium titus), so it also makes a great addition to butterfly gardens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Blue

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes