Common name: Blue star
Botanical name: Amsonia hubrichtii
What it is: A U.S. native perennial flower with an upright habit, star-shaped light-blue spring flowers and billowing, thready foliage that turns bright gold in fall.
Size: 3 feet tall with a nearly similar spread
Where to use: Nice backdrop plant in a perennial garden or border bed. Also works well massed on a bank or in a large open area where it creates a meadow look. Full sun to light shade.
Why I like it: I must be a sucker for willowy textures and golden foliage. This is kind of the perennial brethren of the Mellow Yellow spirea, which is one of my favorite flowering shrubs.
Amsonia starts out with upright stems that are covered in needle-like soft green leaves. The stems grow about 3 feet tall. People no doubt mistake it for some kind of evergreen. But the plant adds clusters of light-blue flowers to its spring repertoire before going back to its wispy evergreeny look for summer. Then fall is when amsonia really shines. The foliage turns a brilliant golden for weeks and weeks – pairing beautifully with mums, asters, gaillardia and really almost anything that’s blooming brightly in October.
Amsonia impressed enough others that it was named the 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year. Well deserved.