Amsonia ciliata var. filifolia 'Georgia Pancake'
Common Name: blue star
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Pale blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, moderate to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers regular moisture, but tolerates dry soils. Best performance usually occurs in full sun, but plants also grow well in areas with some light afternoon shade.

This compact cultivar needs no pruning after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Amsonia ciliata is a clump-forming perennial that is native from North Carolina to Florida west to Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. It is generally found in sandy soils. It typically grows to 2-3’ tall. Terminal clusters of star-like, light blue flowers bloom in mid spring (May) atop generally erect stems clad with narrow, almost needle-like, green leaves. Foliage turns attractive shades of yellow in fall. This plant is commonly called bluestar or fringed bluestar or downy amsonia.

Var. filifolia is native from southern Missouri to Florida and Texas into Mexico. It is most often found growing in sandy areas and along rocky shores. In southern Missouri, it is typically found in limestone glades, bald knobs and limestone bluff escarpments along streams in two counties in the area of the White River (Steyermark). It is commonly called bluestar or fringed bluestar. It is a compact, clump-forming plant that typically grows to only 12” tall. Dense, terminal clusters of star-like, powdery blue flowers (to 1/2”) bloom in mid spring atop erect stems densely clad with narrow linear leaves. Foliage often turns attractive shades of yellow in fall. Filifolia means having thread-like leaves (narrower than those of the species).

Genus name honors 18th-century Virginian physician Dr. Charles Amson.

Specific epithet means hairy-margined in reference to the fringe of hairs found on new leaves and plant stems (hence the sometimes use of fringed or downy in the common name).

‘Georgia Pancake’ is a nearly prostrate variety that was reportedly discovered growing in the wild in sandhills in central Georgia. It typically reaches only 4-5” tall but spreads to 24” wide forming an interesting ground cover of needle-like, soft green leaves. Tiny, pale blue flowers bloom at the branch ends in May. Foliage turns attractive shades of yellow in fall. Specific epithet means hairy-margined in reference to the fringe of hairs found on new leaves and stems of plants in this species (hence the sometimes used common name of fringed bluestar).

Problems

No known serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Border fronts, rock gardens or open woodland areas.

Best when massed as a ground cover.