Skip to main content

Spotlight On: Amsonia, Native Plant With Spectacular Ornamental Beauty

By September 15, 2021March 21st, 2022Plant Spotlight
amsonia autumn color

Fall is a time of bold colors in rich hues of red, gold and orange, as if Mother Nature is waving a glorious goodbye to summer and welcoming in a brand new season. When you think of a fall landscape, some classic favorites probably come to mind – chrysanthemum, goldenrod, perhaps even ornamental peppers.

But there are other garden additions that are so stunning that it would be a real shame if they were overlooked, and one of those is Amsonia.

In this plant Spotlight series, we highlight seasonal beauties that bring something exceptional to your outdoor space. Today we’re sharing our love for Amsonia, from its true blue springtime flowers to its spectacular fall display. Once you become acquainted with this four-season delight, you’ll wonder why you haven’t planted it sooner.

amsonia blue starFrom Blue Stars To Golden Clouds

It’s hard to find a perennial as unique as Amsonia. While trees and shrubs frequently provide four-season interest, perennials are typically known for their specific seasonal appeal. But this amazing plant is a gem all year long.

Known commonly as Blue Star, it starts life in spring with clusters of powder blue flowers that resemble the tiny stars that give it its nickname. Flowers will last through spring and early summer, attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. As flowers fade, narrow, bean-like seed pods appear, accompanying rich, green foliage that will grace your landscape for the remainder of the season.

But Amsonia’s beauty doesn’t end there. During fall it explodes into soft clouds of golden yellow, with wispy, feathery stems that not only create a stunning display, but provide excellent nesting ground cover to welcome beneficial garden critters.

If you leave stems and seed pods through winter, Amsonia will bring all the visual interest of a native grass, swaying in the breeze and collecting snow and ice crystals for a spectacular display.

amsonia summerCare & Maintenance

Amsonia requires very little maintenance and is virtually problem- and pest-free. It can be grown in partial shade, but will give you its best flower display when placed in full sun.

It typically likes moist, well-drained soil but you can also find species that are more drought-tolerant. A layer of mulch can help keep moisture-loving varieties happy, and most varieties can withstand dry soil once they are established. An added layer of mulch can also help protect roots during frigid winter months.

You can prune floppy stems to make them sturdier, especially if you’re growing in shade. Deadhead spent flowers in spring to make room for a continuous display, and simply sit back and enjoy the distinctive visual interest of this plant through fall!

Why We Love It

Given its ease of care and incredible four-season appeal, it’s hard not to love Amsonia. But if you need more inspiration, consider that its charming blue flowers will begin to bloom just as your springtime daffodils are fading, making it a welcome garden addition to keep color and texture vibrant.

Not only is Amsonia gorgeous in its own right, but it makes an excellent edge or border plant, and nicely covers the lower stems of other plants and shrubs. Plant it along fences to soften the view and avoid the need to trim or weed beneath it.

It also pairs perfectly with a wide variety of other blooms, foliage and even grasses. Its airy, lush foliage makes it a great backdrop for summertime plants like hosta and peonies. During late summer and fall, its golden stems pair beautifully with purple coneflower, crimson mums and asters. And its rich brown stalks will stiffen up with ice and snow over winter, bringing much-needed texture and visual interest to your landscape.

As an added bonus, it is deer-resistant, and can be grown just as nicely in a container as it can in the ground.

Both spring and fall are ideal times to plant Amsonia, so if you’d like to enjoy this garden beauty in your landscape, contact us for a consultation. We’ll plan your space and make sure there’s something to delight you all year long.