Amsonia hubrichtii

echinaceamaniac(7)July 26, 2011

How did Amsonia hubrichtii win perennial plant of the year? So far, they are flopping all over the place here. The blooms were tiny and not that attractive. I know the fall color is supposed to be beautiful, but is it really worth it to wait for when they look so unappealing the rest of the year? I like Amsonia 'Blue Ice,' but Amsonia hubrichtii looks like a weed!

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TulsaRose, Tulsa OK(7a)

Maybe they are being affected by the heat? Newer plants may take several years to come into their own.

Quote from Fine Gardening article:

Noteworthy characteristics: This U.S. native offers a long season of interest, with its blue spring flowers, attractive feathery leaves, and golden yellow fall color. It may look haggard when young; it doesn't shine until a few years old.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas blue star)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:23AM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

The "Perennial Plant of the Year" is determined by a vote from members of the Perennial Plant Association. See link below.

Otherwise, ditto above... give it another year or two. It was magnificent here several weeks ago.

Armitage says, "plants are more colorful in the North than the South."

Here is a link that might be useful: Perennial Plant of the Year

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:31AM
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It's a beautiful plant. Give it time.
Mine is the most attractive in autumn, when it's lovely golden foliage persists into the first snows here.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 9:53AM
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I'm giving it more time. It does add texture and seems tough. I moved one in July and it didn't even wilt. They are kind of like a weed but the fall foliage should look good.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Mine has had two years of what I thought was optimal conditions and it went in the garbage today. It flopped, did not bloom and turned yellow in July rather than September. I'll not trust plant of the year again,

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:49AM
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Is blue ice worth giving real estate in a limited space bed? How big does it get?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Blue Ice is awesome. The blooms are larger and more blue. The plant is around a foot tall. It looks more like a flower and not a weed.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:36AM
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I take it back. I can't look at these ugly things anymore. It just looks like weeds to me. I hope none of you fell for the hype like I did. Lol.

I'm not liking the looks of Baptisia right now either. It was perennial plant of the year last year. It looks like a weed too! The blooms are gone and all that's left are floppy leaves. Yikes!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 12:42PM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

To each his/her own. ;)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 4:36PM
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I cut back my amsonia and baptista after they bloom by at least a third. Not a flat top with a shears, but shaping as I cut back with hand pruners. They do not open up or flop nearly as much as when left unpruned.

I give credit to Tracey DiSabito whose last name I forget and her great book whose name I can't remember either right now for the advice.

I admit I'm underwhelmed by all three of my amsonia in bloom, cut back or not cut back. But I am patiently waiting for the golden yellow foliage stage.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 9:26PM
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I love my Amsonia hubrichtii (and my Baptisias.) They were planted in the autumn of 2007, bought as gallon sized sad-looking end of season specials. The flowers are short-lived but nice while they are there, but the foliage creates a large bright green feathery mound that contrasts beautifully with the surrounding plants. Unfortunately, my golden stage is often short to non-existent since my season is short and autumn comes early.

echinaceamaniac - I'm not trying to argue you out of your decision/dislike, more present another view to other forum members (and we have quite different growing conditions, so may have quite different looking plants!) For me flowers are just one part of a well-designed garden, and I plan with foliage in mind for when the flowers aren't there.

Here is one of mine in its second spring in my garden, still a bit sparse. I'll try to get a photo of how it looks now. From June 2010

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:20PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

For being perennial of the year, I have not seen it offered anywhere in my area. I would like to get one since the seeds I tried starting failed. Or they are just waiting until next year to sprout. I'd also like to get my hands on 'Blue Ice'. I'm planting a wildflower garden and both I think would look nice, once they mature. I guess I'll have to look to mail order.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:38AM
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I like that the one in the photo isn't flopping like mine, but it still doesn't look good. It looks like some weed you'd see in any side ditch here.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:43AM
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I shape a few of my amsonia after they bloom so that they don't fall over on the companions. I have a few others that I let grow naturally and set seeds because I'm increasing my count to use in other parts of the garden. The lush foliage stays lush looking here throughout our 100 degree days and drought. It's tough, it's hardy, it's green in summer, I don't water it... I'll keep it!

Plant it behind Russian Sage or tall verbena bonariensis (see-through plants) as it makes a nice backdrop.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 9:03PM
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Cameron - Thanks for the advice. Mine are just lying on the ground. I even have a trellis in front of one to prop it up. I will post a photo tomorrow. I wonder if it would be ok to prune them now.

Sorry my rant was so negative yesterday. I just had a bad garden day.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:06AM
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Sometimes we all get tired of certain plants and if it doesn't work for you, by all means rip it out. I've done that with plants that I'm tired of fussing over.

For me, it's the drought-tolerance, deer and rabbit resistance and the fact that it is the greenest foliage in my perennial garden this time of year (as we hit 104 degrees today).

When cutting back amsonia, wear gloves as the sap can be irritating to the skin. I just slope the sides and mound the shape to keep it upright.

The main one that I trim is also supported by ground cover of eupatorium 'Wayside' that is lush and blooming those cute misty blue flowers right now. That amsonia is also hiding the knees of monarda 'Raspberry Wine' on the slope above it and is flanked on one side by persicaria 'fire tail' in front of eupatorium 'chocolate'. The other side are native Joe Pye and solidago. Just pack those plants in there around it. Since amsonia blooms so early, i shape it before the companions get up around it.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:24PM
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