ShadyGardens Blog

September 4, 2010

Perennial Plant of the Year: Amsonia Hubrichtii, Blue Star

Filed under: Amsonia, blue star, drought tolerant, fall, hubrictii, of the year, perennial, plant — shadygardens @ 3:51 pm
The Perennial Plant Association has already chosen the 2010 Perennial Plant of the year. Amsonia hubrichtii, often known as Blue Star, is native to the state of Arkansas, but grows well in most parts of the country.
Amsonia Hubrictii is at its best in Fall
Amsonia hubrichtii has very fine-textured foliage which makes it ideal for pairing with ornamental grasses.  
Clusters of blue flowers in May are lovely, but to me this plant comes alive in fall. I’m crazy about the bright golden color that develops with the onset of cooler weather. 
The fact that this plant grows well in both full sun or part shade makes it an easy choice for just about every garden. Like most native plants, Amsonia is drought tolerant once established. 
Probably another reason this perennial is so favored is its lack of problems with insects or disease. I have not noticed the deer munching on it either.

As you can see in the above photo, when massed in groups of 5 or more, Amsonia hubrichtii makes quite a show.

March 5, 2010

Baptisia Australis False Blue Indigo: 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year

Filed under: australis, Baptisia, Blue, false, indigo, native, of the year, perennial, plant — shadygardens @ 3:53 pm
Baptisia Australis, otherwise known as False Blue Indigo, has been named Perennial Plant of the Year for 2010. This award is much deserved. Baptisia is one of the easiest plants of all to grow, and it’s a native!
The blue-gray foliage of Baptisia Australis is lovely all season, but this plant has many wonderful features. Leaves are trifoliate, reminding me of clover. The plant is upright, for the most part, and doesn’t require staking unless it’s getting too much shade. Since Baptisia australis grows up to four feet tall, plant it behind shorter perennials.
Blue violet pea-like blooms stand well above the foliage, providing a tall backdrop for lower growing plants. The bloom stems can be up to 12 inches tall, so Baptisia is an excellent cut flower. Blooms last up to a month on the plant, but are also long-lasting in a vase where they can be enjoyed up close. 
Once blooms are spent, do not deadhead this plant or you’ll miss the next show. By late summer, blooms have given way to showy black pods resembling peas. The black pods hanging on strong stems are lovely and make attractive additions to floral arrangements and wreaths for late summer. In addition, these pods are full of viable seeds which you can use to make more of these lovely plants for your garden and for your friends.

This plant grows best with full sun and well-drained soil. Once established, Baptisia is very drought tolerant.

This Perennial Plant of the Year can be grown just about anywhere with its broad range of growing zones, since it’s hardy anywhere in USDA Zones 3-9. 

For more on this plant, visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

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