Amsonia are a clump forming perennial suitable for the border. Desirable for the masses of blue flowers in summer as well as lovely autumn foliage, this is not so much a scene stealer, but an excellent hardy performer . It is Amsonia tabernamontana that is most commonly offered in the UK, although over 20 species are listed.
Reaching around 1m (3ft) in height with a similar spread the foliage actually differs depending on where you buy it, the most obvious being Amsonia tabernamontana var. salicifolia. Generally from spring to autumn the foliage is a good green, some varieties having better autumn colour than others. Lanceolate leaves are one form, through to broader rounded types.
The form offered as 'Amsonia montana' is a lower growing type to around 60 cm (2ft).
- Amsonia tabernamontana var. salicifolia - This is the Willow Leaf Amsonia, deep blue buds open to a paler blue starry shaped flower.
- Amsonia orientalis is from Turkey and Crete, a species that will reach around .5 in height.
- Amsonia hubrichtii is from 'Arkansas' hence the name Arkansas 'Blue Star'. another easy care species reaching up to 1m depending on conditions, brilliant yellow foliage in autumn.
Growing conditions and care
Amsonia prefer a well-drained soil humus rich, moist soil and full sun to part shade. They can be a little slow to get going but will eventually form a tight clump that requires little care. They will survive reasonably cold winters and perhaps the only problem is insufficient sun in summer.
A lack of sun leads to lanky or leggy growth and poor flower colour.
AN annual pruning in early spring back to ground level is about all the maintenance these plants require.
Propagation is by division of clumps or from seed sown in spring. Seeds show better germination rates is given a cold stratification before sowing.
Amsonia are available for sale from the following nurseries
CLAIRE AUSTIN HARDY PLANTS Hardy Plants - Tel: 01939 251173 - FAX: 01939 251637
Edgebolton, Shawbury, Shropshire, SY4 4EL
We are mail order specialists of herbaceous perennials, including bearded irises, herbaceous & tree peonies. The catalogue and website list over 700 different varieties.
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