Amsonia tabernaemontana 'Montana'
Common Name: blue star 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, 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.

Although cutting back most Amsonias to 6-8" after bloom is recommended in order to help maintain neatness and increase foliage density, such trimming is usually not needed in the case of this compact cultivar.

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.

'Montana' differs from the species in that the flowers are a deeper blue, the leaves are slightly wider, the habit is more compact and the flowers bloom 1-2 weeks earlier. Willow-shaped, green to grayish-green foliage may turn an attractive yellow in fall. This plant is sold under several names: Amsonia tabernaemontana 'Montana', Amsonia tabernaemontana var. montana or Amsonia montana.


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.