Barrett Wilson is a research assistant in horticulture for Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square.

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Stiff Bluestar
by Barrett Wilson       #Hot Plants

Stiff bluestar matures into an attractive, compact mound.

Stiff bluestar is an easy-to-grow, but underused, addition to the garden. Native to open woodlands of the Gulf Coast region, stiff bluestar is much hardier (Zones 5 to 9) than its natural range suggests. The stems of stiff bluestar emerge in April with a purplish tint and reach a sturdy height of 2 to 3 feet during the growing season, topped with clusters of light-blue flowers. Forming a tidy, compact, and symmetrical mound, stiff bluestar is smaller than other more commonly encountered Amsonia species.

Not only does stiff bluestar show exceptional resistance to insect problems and disease, but the flowers also serve as a nectar source for spring butterflies and beneficial native bees. Additionally, the foliage maintains its cleanliness and lush green color throughout the summer. There are no improved varieties of stiff bluestar available. When selecting plants, be on the lookout for distinctive flower and stem colors, leaf textures and differences in plant form and vigor.

Stems are topped with clusters of light blue, star shaped flowers.


Common Names: Stiff bluestar

Botanical Name: Amsonia rigida

Blooming Period: Late April through May

Color: Light blue

Type: Perennial

Size: 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide

Exposure: Mostly sunny, tolerates some shade

When to Plant: Spring or fall

Soil: Average to moist, well-drained soil

In Your Landscape: Stiff bluestar can be used in masses or as a companion plant in sunny borders


(From Pennsylvania Gardener Sept/Oct 2011. Photograhy By Barrett Wilson.)





Posted: 10/28/11   RSS | Print


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