Content Detail

Arkansas blue star is an unusual, upright, narrow perennial. It is grown for its fern-like feathery foliage, small light blue star-shaped flowers, and beautiful golden yellow fall color. It is native to the central Midwest.

  • Family (English) Dogbane
  • Family (botanic) Apocynaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest early fall, early summer, late spring, late summer, mid fall, mid spring, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Blue
  • Shape or form Narrow, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow

Size: 

The upright, billowy mounds of thread-like leaves reach 3 feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

The Arkansas blue star is found in open fields and dry rocky outcrops in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

This perennial attracts butterflies and birds.

Leaf description: 

The light green leaves are alternate, 1/16 wide and 3 inches long. It has asparagus fern-like foliage. It turns a bright yellow-gold in the fall.

Flower description: 

The star-shaped terminal flowers are light blue to almost white.

Fruit descriptions: 

The narrow seed pods appear in pairs.

Plant care: 

This plant grows in full sun to light shade, but does not tolerate heavy shade. It does best in a well drained soil, but is tolerant of dry conditions and temporary wet sites, once it is established. It prefers cool temperatures. In wet seasons, the plant may open up in the center and require staking. It can be cut back in the spring to promote denser growth. It should be cut back after flowering to remove the seed pods.

List of pests and diseases

This plant has no serious pests or diseases. It is not favored by deer.

Butterscotch Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii ‘Butterscotch’):

This cultivar is 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide with butterscotch yellow fall color.

Lemon Drop Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii ‘Lemon Drop’): 

This plant is 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide with lemony-yellow fall color.

Downy starflower Amsonia (Amsonia ciliata):

This compact plant (1 to 3 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide) has silky, dark green thin leaves and pale blue flowers.

Half Way To Arkansas (Amsonia ciliata ‘Half Way to Arkansas’):

This plant is 2 to 3 feet high with pale blue flowers. Its leaves turn golden yellow with a purple-bronze tint.

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