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.
Common Names: Stiff bluestar
Botanical Name: Amsonia rigida
Blooming Period: Late April through May
Color: Light blue
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.)