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Amsonia (also known as Bluestar) is an underutilized native wildflower you should consider adding to your perennial beds. Two species widely found in retail nurseries and garden centers include Amsonia hubrichtii and Amsonia tabernaemontana. These species are very similar but the latter has wider leaves in addition to tongue-twisting binomial nomenclature.

Finely textured Amsonia foliage

Amsonia provides three seasons of interest in the garden. Clusters of small star-shaped flowers in shades of blue cover the plant in June. The blooms peak at a time in the season when many perennials are on a flowering hiatus. The bright green foliage lasts through summer and has a striking fine texture not commonly found on herbaceous perennials. Amsonia provides an additional season of interest with a glowing fall color. The vivid yellow-orange leaves are a highlight in the autumn landscape.

Fall foliage

Reaching a height and width of about 2-3 feet, Bluestar can easily find a home in the garden. It thrives in sunny locations and can tolerate poor soils and drought conditions. Bluestar will steal the show on its own, but a mass planting would be absolutely stunning.

Article and photography by lilyofthevalley for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design.

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