Amsonia ciliata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blue star
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Pale blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. Prefers sandy soils with regular moisture and sharp drainage. Best fall foliage color usually occurs in full sun, but flowers generally last longer if given some light afternoon shade in hot sun areas. Stems tend to open up and flop in too much shade. Consider cutting back the stems to 8-10” after flowering to promote bushy growth and, if desired, to further reduce the outside stem height so as to create a more rounded foliage mound.

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.

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).

Problems

No serious pest or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Borders, rock gardens, cottage gardens or open woodland areas. Best when planted in groups or massed.