A North American native, the Eastern Blue Star, as Amsonia Tabernaemontana is commonly known, is a robust and pretty much bomb-proof plant, forming a nice well-shaped clump of stems clothed in lance shaped leaves, lime green as they emerge and darkening later. In early to mid summer pointed dark blue buds appear, slowly opening to reveal beautiful pale blue starlike flowers in dense clusters which continue for a pleasingly long period. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 24 in. 2 litre pot.

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Amsonia Tabernaemontana is a bit of a mouthful and it’s tricky to get the spelling right. Blue Star does trip more easily off the tongue. If you nonetheless remain interested, Amsonia refers to Charles Amson, an 18th century Virginian doctor and scientific explorer, while the pesky Tabernaemontana bit honours Jakob Theodor von Bergzabern, who styled himself Tabernaemontanus by Latininsing his surname, another doctor (this time of the 16th century) but also a herbalist of some renown who is known as the father of German botany. He also has a tree genus named after him. Good to know.

Amsonia are widespread in Asia, Europe and North America and generally enjoy a native habitat in open woodland or grassland. This species, as mentioned before, is an American native but will settle happily in a British garden, given a spot with at least a bit of sun and soil that retains a bit of moisture, though it will tolerate dry conditions on a temporary basis once established. The foliage is attractive not just in spring, when it is fresh and zesty lime in colour, but additionally in the autumn, when it takes on golden hues before dying back for the winter.

Care of Amsonia Tabernaemontana is of the undemanding type. Cut back old foliage in early winter or spring, and there is little else to be done. Nice.

Amsonia Tabernaemontana is a hardy perennial with dark green lance shaped leaves and starry blue flowers in early summer suitable for sun or semi-shade.

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