In the 1990s there was an electrifying buzz around Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) that rocketed it from a collector’s plant to a phenomenon in the gardening world. Its alluring blue flowers were familiar to me—I already knew the hulking eastern bluestar (A. tabernaemontana)— but the soft, threadlike leaves and rich, golden fall color of Arkansas bluestar were a novelty. These bluestars are similarly built, although Arkansas bluestar seems less intimidating because of its finetextured foliage. Along the way from native plant to indispensable garden perennial, Arkansas bluestar was honored as Perennial Plant of the Year in 2011, which is more than just a beauty prize or popularity contest. Its ornamental merits and easy culture have made it a mainstay, but it’s certainly not the only worthy bluestar.
Aptly named for their starlike flowers of the prettiest periwinkle blue to the very palest blue, bluestars hold their blossoms in…
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