Monday, December 13, 2010

2011 Perennial Plant of the Year

Picture by H. Scoggins - from the Chanticleer Garden
Amsonia hubrichtii (am-SO-nee-ah hew-BRIK-tee-eye) has been named 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year. Common names for the plant include Arkansas Amsonia, Arkansas blue star, thread-leaf blue star, narrow leaf blue star, and Hubricht's blue star.

Amsonia is a North American native. The species was found in Arkansas in 1942 by Leslie Hubricht. The foliage is thin and strap—like, often reaching three inches in length. From late spring to early summer, two- to three-inch wide clusters of small, light blue, star shaped flowers appear above the ferny foliage. This amsonia forms a three-foot-by-three-foot mound.
Holly Scoggins blogged about it recently at the Garden Professors, highlighting its fabulous fall foliage.
Exhibits the best boofy habit of all perennials (somewhat like "floofy", but rounder). Native to southern/central U.S. and totally drought tolerant. The pale blue star-shaped flowers in late Spring are fairly underwhelming, especially given all the other stuff going on at the time. The fine, needle-like foliage adds a wonderful soft texture throughout the summer. As the days shorten and the nights cool down, it begins to glow...first a soft gold, and then adds bronze and apricot to the mix - basically a color twin of Sporobolis heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed, previously described in a GP post).
According to the flyer, it:
Prefers average, moist well-drained soil but tolerates less moisture. Once established, it can tolerate drier conditions. Light blue flowers in spring are followed by a marvelous display of foliage in summer. A golden-yellow fall color is second to none among herbaceous perennials. It is uniquely suited as a companion plant or as a feature. This perennial for the seasons is an asset in borders, native gardens, cottage gardens or open woodland areas. It is best when massed. Arkansas blue star is attractive when mixed with ornamental grasses and plants that have attractive seed heads.


  1. It's gorgeous! Do you think local nurserys will have it? I might just have to plant some this spring...

  2. Being named perennial of the year usually increases its profile. The literature says it can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, or divisions, so I suspect the nurseries will have some. Germination is described as irregular. I think I now have a challenge, if I can just score some seed ...

  3. Bluestone Perennials has this plant on their web site. I have ordered many perennials from them and have always been pleased.

  4. Oops, that was meant for the 2011 Perennial of the Year post.

  5. I know someone who has a large expanse, I'm sure he'd be willing to donate some for the plant long as I dig and pot it.

  6. Yay, Karen. Let us know if you need help and we'll put together a team.