Amsonia tabernaemontana 'Short Stack'
Common Name: dwarf blue star 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Sky blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, loamy soils. Tolerates some drought. When grown in full sun, plants often require no pruning or staking. When grown in some shade and/or in rich soils, however, plants tend to become more open and floppy and often require staking or pruning. For a neater appearance, particularly for shade-grown plants, consider cutting back stems by 1/2 to 1/3 after flowering to promote bushy growth and, if desired, a more rounded foliage mound.

‘Short Stack’ is a dwarf variety that may not need to be cut back to retain a compact habit.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Amsonia tabernaemontana, commonly called bluestar, is a Missouri native herbaceous perennial which occurs most frequently in rich, open woods and thickets in the southwestern part of the State. An erect, clump-forming plant which features terminal, pyramidal clusters of 3/4", soft light blue, star-like flowers in late spring atop erect, leafy stems growing 2-3' tall. Narrow, willow-shaped, dull green foliage may turn an attractive yellow in fall.

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

Specific epithet honours Jakob Theodor von Bergzabern (d. 1590) who Latinized his name as Tabernaemontanus.

‘Short Stack’ is a dwarf variety of bluestar that typically grows to only 10” tall and to 18” wide. This cultivar was introduced into commerce by Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina under the name Amsonia montana ‘Short Stack’. Some confusion exists as to whether Amsonia montana (typically small-leaved, low-growing forms of A. tabernaemontana) is a recognized separate species. It is listed herein as a cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana.


No serious insect or disease problems. Rust may occur.


An easy-to-grow plant which is best massed in informal settings such as native plant gardens, shade gardens or open woodland areas. Also appropriate for borders or containers.