Does anyone have Amsonia hubrichtii - Arkansas Blue Star

diginthedirt17(z5 IL)June 30, 2007

I saw this plant last year at the Morton Arboretum and just fell in love with the texture (very important for me!). Anyway, I saw it again last week at a garden walk and now I have to have it!

Does anyone have an opinion on the Arkansas Blue Star - or pictures? Thanks!

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rsmallen(z6 PA)

I have it. This is the feathery one right? Not the bluestar/wff strain? I actually have both.

Wonderful plants. Fill out like crazy. The fall color is an AMAZING yellow on all that feathery foliage. The blue blossoms are plentiful and very, very light icy blue. This year I did not get as many blossoms as last year and they were rather shortlived. This year it is one year old in my garden...last year I fertilized, this year I did not. I am watching to see if I get any repeat bloom flushes.

Bear in mind though, it does not like too rich a soil. My bed was new last year and I dug in humus, mushroom soil and top soil to amend the shaley soil I have. That soil was like black gold. My amsonias were droopy on the ends...like they did not stand upright...and I read it was a result of too rich soil.

Robin

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 8:18AM
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ginny12

I have this and it is an easy perennial. The foliage adds nice textural interest. The flowers are the same as A. tabernaemontana, the species you usually see, which is also easy and problem-free.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 9:42AM
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Maryl zone 7a

A friend of mine has this in her large garden in Arkansas. She has not been that pleased with this Amsonia. By early fall the plants are splayed out and laying on top of the surrounding plants. Her beds are amended to accomodate her true love - Roses, so perhaps her soil was too rich as Robin says. I suspect however that Amsonia Hubrichtii may be more lax in general then Tabernaemontana.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 4:23PM
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rsmallen(z6 PA)

Maryl, it is QUITE a bit more lax in general than Tabernamontana. And mine sprawled and drooped like that last year by late summer. As I recall, they were quite a bit taller last year...and they definitely had more blooms last summer. I vowed not to be so good to mine after reading about the too rich soil issue...and indeed, they don't splay and fall over so far this year...but they had fewer blooms. They are fuller but you would expect that.

Overall, I would plant them again...but I like the WhiteFlower Strain much, much better. Better color, longer lasting bloom period, better behaved...but not that feathery texture.

Robin

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 4:33PM
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3dawgs

I've got some of the thread-leaved amsonia, and it doesn't flop, but it hasn't bloomed for me at all either. I've had it a couple of years now, and am getting a tad impatient with it.
Jen

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 10:56PM
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cbs_z5_ny(z5 NY)

One of my favorites. Takes a few years (from seed) to fill in, but worth the wait. Also have Amsonia ciliata, similar but smaller (that might be site-related though) and a little less feathery. Never had any trouble with splaying or flopping, but I grow them in sun and lean, dry soil. The link below says you can shear them back after flowering to make them more compact.

-Caroline

Here is a link that might be useful: amsonia ciliata

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 10:38AM
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playsindirt(z5 MO)

Yes and no. I planted a seedling a few years ago and have moved it a couple of times and it still hasn't done a darn thing. No blue Spring flowers, no lovely yellow Fall color. I'm still waiting. It looks like a healthy plant but it's taking a while to do it's thing. It's about 6 inches tall and 2 inches wide. I planted it in a big spot so it looks kind of funny. I'm waiting for it to do "big things."

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 1:00PM
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rsmallen(z6 PA)

Hmmm. I put in 6 plants last year...3 or 5 inch pots. Not big plants...but multi stemmed. This year they are about 2 or 2.5 ft tall and about as round. I see there is new leaf growth on top...but as I said, scant flowers this year. I did just read again...if you don't want them to splay, don't feed.

Robin

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 9:54AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

I don't think of these as flower plants but as foliage plants. Mine are young, but when I had them at my other house, they didn't flop. Deer didn't eat them, either.

They take longer than many perennials to really fill out.

Here is a link that might be useful: a photo of amsonia in autumn

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 11:40AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Here's the picture that convinced me to plant these!

Here is a link that might be useful: another photo

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 11:46AM
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rsmallen(z6 PA)

Yep. That's the Fall color. And it is gorgeous. Mine are really putting on top growth just now...and still no sign of splaying this year. Playsindirt, I wonder if the fact that you've moved it a couple times has slowed down its growth? I am thinking about what its' root system is like and confess I don't recall. If it's a tap root it might be the moving that is slowing it down. Tap rooted natives often can't be successfully moved...

Robin

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 7:21AM
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danmoser(z5 NE)

This is in my top 5 list of perennials for consistent performance. I've got three of them bunched together in full sun near my front door, another grouping in full sun out back and a few in shade, too. I've yet to get very heavy flowering from mine, unfortunately, but the foliage is just so cool that I don't care. It's one of those plants that just begs to be touched. And the fall color on the plants in full sun is really stunning. I've definitely found that it's good advice to cut them back by a third after flowering is done. They produce a flush of fresh growth.

Dan

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 10:25AM
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rteets(PA z6)

diginthedirt17, if you want some I have lots of young plants!! Maybe we can make a trade.... I love it, just cut it back by a third to half after it blooms in the spring and it won't fall over in the fall. I wouldn't be without this one in my garden. It is lovely.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 3:37PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I had a question about this plant. Do you cut it back in the winter? Or do you just leave it be? I see cutting by 1/3 or 1/2 after flowering. Does it form new stalks each year, or do the old ones keep growing? Thinking of picking one up.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 12:00AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

It forms new stalks each year as the old ones die when there's a hard freeze. I leave mine up after freeze until it looks ratty and then cut it down to near ground level, but you could cut it back as soon as the foliage dies. In a year with little early snow, that might be in December, but in years with a lot of snow, it gets buried and I cut it back in spring before it starts sprouting.

Mine had an unusual amount of red in it this year. Most years it is a lovely clear gold. From October, 2013

This post was edited by nhbabs on Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 6:38

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 11:30PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Thanks for the info, awesome looking. I'm more into edibles, but i want one! I like the look next to broader leaf plants.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 12:03AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I agree with the above...if you plant hubrichtii, plant it for the foliage and plant it somewhere where it gets pretty much full sun and leaner conditions.
If you want an impressive bloom machine (for an amsonia) plant tabernaemontana or illustris (I prefer illustris). Mine in a moist prairie loam in Oklahoma looked like a shrub, attaining a height of 4 feet and easily that broad.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 5:01AM
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