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Amsonia hubrichtii – 2011 Perennial of the Year

It is just about time that I start to work on the first issue of a newsletter that I do for my Horticulture Society.   Each year I include the Perennial Plant of the Year chosen by the Perennial Plant Organization..   Plants chosen must be an all round dependable plant that is low maintenance, propagated easily, good in all most all garden conditions and soils.   This year’s choice is a plant I am not personally familiar with.   It is recommended for a US Zone of 5-9 and that my be why I have not seen it in my area.    I would love to hear from anyone that has grown it and how is performing in their garden.

Amsonia hubrichtii is known by the common names of Arkansas Blue Star and Thread leaf Blue Star.  It is listed in my favourite go-to gardening book “Heritage Perennials Perennial Gardening Guide” so it a plant that does grow in southern Ontario. 

The photos I borrowed from the internet and are not mine.

images poy_2011

Amsonia hubrichtii grows 36inches tall and the same wide at maturity in a mounded form.   In late spring or early summer two to three inch (5-7 cm) wide clusters of small light blue clusters of star shaped flowers appear above ferny foliage that alternately arranged and are bright green spring and summer and turn a bright yellow-golden colour in fall.    This plant thrives in full sun to partial share in soil that is average and well drained.  As the plant gets established it will become more tolerant to less water and drier conditions.  Amsonia is best grown in a massed planting and best in borders, native gardens, cottage gardens or open woodland.  It is native to North America which is a bonus.  A long lived plant with no insect problems this plant can be slow to get going but in its second year it should take off. 

Grow this plant with suggested companions of Calamagrotis acutiflora or Karl Foerster ornamental grass, Penstemon digitalis and phlox divaricata’ London Grove Blue’.  Heritage Perennials quotes that this plant is soft as you brush by it but is too tall for an edging plant so move farther back in the flowerbed.

I am going to be looking for this plant when the Garden Centres open again for spring.   For more information visit www.perennialplant.org on this interesting plant.

Comments

Cyndy said…
I've wanted this plant for a long time - seeing it planted en masse at the Lurie Garden in Chicago this fall, I wanted it even more. Hopefully it will be at more nurseries this year with the perennial of the year designation.
Hi Val
A plant I've not grown either but it looks worth a try.
Thanks for the reminder to start working on our garden club newsletter.
Judith
Naturegirl said…
I have sandy soil in my new woodland garden..perhaps this is one for me. You seem to love yellow.Your previous collage of roses..simply charming!
waving from the sunshine..nautregirl
Carolyn said…
I have not grown this but I will be on the lookout for it.
It is always interesting to see the Perennial of the Year!
I would like to try this plant come spring and will certainly be on the look out for it. It would look great at the edge of the woodland garden. Jen.
Anonymous said…
I probably missed it but I tend to grow only plants that benefits nature in some major way. That includes food for the insects and birds. Do insects like it?
The only reference I could find for Abraham Lincoln's question was in the book "Bringing Nature Home" by Douglas W. Tallamy in which he noted that the Amsonia tabernaemontona or willowleaf bluestar attracts the larvae of the smeared dagger moth Acronicta oblinita. If I find more info I will post it for sure. Valerie
Georgianna said…
Wow, what an interesting plant. I don't know that I've seen it but I imagine it's around here in some garden or other. Love that it's a native, too.

Thanks for sharing. I love Karl Foerster so that could be a fun combination.

– g
Tootsie said…
hmmmmm never seen it myself...but I am zone 3...it is worth the look though...how neat is that!

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