Amsonia: how to plant and care in open ground

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Amsonia: how to plant and care in open ground
Amsonia: how to plant and care in open ground

Description of the amsonium plant, recommendations for planting and care when growing on a personal plot, propagation methods, combating diseases and pests, species and varieties.

Amsonia is a plant that belongs to the Apocynaceae family. The genus has a natural distribution on the territory of the North American continent, while one species grows in the eastern regions of Asia and on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The first description of plants from the genus was given in 1788.

Family name Kutrovye
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeds Seeds or vegetatively (by dividing a bush or rooting cuttings)
Open ground transplant terms Seeds before winter (early spring) or vegetatively in spring
Landing rules Between the seedlings stand 1-1, 2 m
Priming Well-drained, sandy or clayey
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 1-7, 8 (neutral or slightly alkaline)
Illumination level Well-lit, draft-free area
Humidity level Regular watering, moderate humidity
Special care rules Trimming and replanting required
Height options 0.9–1.2 m
Flowering period June or August
Type of inflorescences or flowers Paniculate or corymbose inflorescences
Color of flowers All shades of blue
Fruit type Paired pods
The timing of fruit ripening September
Decorative period Summer-spring
Application in landscape design Group planting in flower beds and flower beds, the formation of borders
USDA zone 3–9

According to some verses, the plant got its name thanks to the American doctor John Amson, but usually representatives of the genus are called "bluestars", which means "blue stars", indicating the flowers of amsonia.

All species of these perennials have a herbaceous form of growth. At the same time, the height of some stems can reach 0, 9–1, 2 m. In this case, through the shoots, the bush takes a vase-like shape. The color of the stems is green, they grow straight, there is no branching. The entire surface of the stems is well leafy, giving the amsonia bush a special appeal even before flowering.

Leaves, arranged alternately, resemble willow. Their shape is broadly elliptical, oblong or elongated-oval with a sharp point at the top, or the foliage can take on an almost threadlike shape. The length of the leaves of amsonia varies within 7, 5-10 cm with a width of about 2.5 cm. The color of the deciduous mass of a rich herbaceous or bright green color. Moreover, in some species, the leaves have pubescence on the reverse side, while their upper surface is always smooth. A central vein of a paler color is clearly visible on it.

By the end of summer, the foliage takes on a grayish tone, but in the fall the shade of amsonia leaves can change to golden with bright red tones. Because of this, the bush becomes like a bright fire, revitalizing the garden, which is already beginning to lose its decorative effect. Some growers are upset because their plant does not give this bright "flash" of foliage color, but these changes will directly depend on the growing conditions of the bushes. If the sunshine during the summer period was enough for them and the summer turned out to be hot, then with the arrival of autumn one can expect the desired colorful deciduous "fire".

When flowering, which can begin in late May or June, or in August, paniculate or corymbose inflorescences in the form of curls are formed on the tops of the flowering shoots.Their height reaches 15 cm and a width of about 10 cm. Amsonia inflorescences are composed of small flowers of star-shaped outlines. The corolla has a funnel-shaped shape, it has five deeply divided and extended on the sides of the petals. There are a lot of flowers in the inflorescences, and when they open, they cover the bush with an elegant blanket. The color of the petals in the flowers always takes on shades of blue color, which perfectly contrasts with the coloring of the deciduous mass. As the flowering progresses, the color of the petals gradually fades, and the flowers become almost whitish.

It often happens that amsonias are mistaken for phloxes, since the latter are also capable of forming dense bushes when growing, they also have upright leafy stems, elongated leaf plates and similar terminal inflorescences-shields. At the same time, the flowers of "bluestars" also practically resemble those that open in phlox. But if you carefully start to consider amsonia, then the following differences will immediately catch your eye:

  • the root system is more powerful and is characterized by lignification and with any damage there is a release of milky juice, which differs all representatives of the Kutrov family;
  • foliage is arranged in the next order;
  • the petals in the flowers are pointed and all take on a blue color, but in different shades, which differ from phlox.

The main feature of amsonia is its fruit, which is filled with cylindrical seeds. The fruits look like pods arranged in pairs, which adds decorativeness to the plant. The pods are 10 cm long.


Despite the fact that many of the Kutrov family are poisonous, such as oleander, for example, there is no evidence that Amsonia has the same characteristics.

The duration of the decorativeness of amsonia and its unpretentiousness have come to the liking of many gardeners, so the plant is becoming more and more popular for garden cultivation or is used for decoration by landscape designers.

Planting and caring for amsonia when growing in a personal plot

Amsonia blooms
  1. Landing place it is recommended to select an open and sunny plant for such a flowering plant, which will be the key to obtaining colorfully colored foliage in the autumn, but it will be good when the bushes are in diffused lighting at noon. However, in a slight shade, the flowering period will lengthen, but it is worth noting that the shoots will also begin to stretch significantly and they will need to provide support. When planting amsonia, you should not be afraid that moisture from melting snow or rains may stagnate at the selected location, since the plant in nature loves wet places. The place for disembarkation of "bluestars" should be thought out very carefully, as the adult specimens simply cannot tolerate the transplant.
  2. Soil for planting amsonia it should be selected in such a way that the acidity values ​​are in the range of pH 6, 5–7, 8, that is, neutral or slightly alkaline soil is preferable. If the substrate in the area is acidic, then it is limestone by adding dolomite flour or slaked lime. Some gardeners use fluff of lime to ensure that the roots of the plant are not scalded. This can be the case when applying lime in pieces. It is recommended to plant in a well-drained, light soil mixture; bluestars will grow best on loam or sandstone.
  3. Planting amsonia. This operation is best done in spring or early fall. The planting hole is dug in such a way that an earthen ball that surrounds the root system can easily fit into it. In this case, it is important that the root collar remains at the same level as before the transplant. In a group arrangement, approximately 1–1, 2 m should be left between the seedlings. After planting, abundant watering and shading are carried out for a while until the seedlings undergo adaptation.
  4. Watering when caring for amsonia in the garden, it should be regular and abundant, since in nature the plant prefers rather moist soils. This is especially true in dry and hot summers. It is important to remember that the plant also does not tolerate waterlogging of the soil.
  5. Fertilizers when growing amsonia on the site, it should be applied only if the planting was carried out in depleted soil. Periodic composting is suitable, mulching the soil around the shrub.
  6. Pruning amsonia is an important aspect when caring for a plant. After the flowering process is completed, the shoots are cut at a height of 0.3 m from the soil surface. This will stimulate the growth of young branches and will also leave the bluestars bush decorative. With the arrival of spring, so that the plant then overwinters normally, it is necessary to remove all old shoots.
  7. Wintering of amsonia. Some species of this representative of kutrovy have high frost resistance, but if the winter is with little snow, frostbite of the branches is possible, therefore, with the arrival of a cold snap, the shoots are neatly bent to the soil and a layer of dry fallen mass of large-leaved flora is poured on top, otherwise compost can be used.
  8. General advice on care. So that when growing amsonia in the garden, its decorative effect does not decrease after flowering, it is recommended to remove the inflorescences as they wither. If the bush is planted in the shade and its branches are very elongated, then pegs should be dug in next to them, to which the shoots should be tied. Once a week, after watering or raining, the soil around the bluestars plantings should be loosened, combining this process with weeding.
  9. The use of amsonia in landscape design. These plants will look best in group plantings, which will emphasize the beauty of summer flowering and decorativeness in autumn days. Since the crown has a rounded wide outline, the amsonia will look beautiful next to the taller perennial representatives of the flora. Among them, there are basil (Thalictrum) and birchwood (Eupatorium), as well as boltonia (Boltonia). A good neighborhood is the planting next to the soft cuff (Alchemilla mollis) and the Byzantine cuff (Stachys byzantina). You can surround the Amsonia bushes with primroses for decorative purposes.

With the help of such plants, the formation of curbs and alleys is carried out not only in personal plots, but also in park areas. Such plantings can be placed in the middle of evenly mowed lawns or as tapeworms.

Amsonia: Outdoor reproduction of a herbaceous plant

Amsonia in the ground

To grow such a fire-colored bush on your own garden plot, it is recommended to use seeds for reproduction, divide an overgrown plant or root cuttings.

Propagation of amsonia using seeds

You can carry out the cultivation of seedlings in a seedling and non-seedling way. In the first case, sowing is recommended before winter, so that during the cold season the seeds undergo natural stratification (holding for a long time at low temperatures). After sowing, the bed is mulched with a layer of fallen dry leaves to create sufficient shelter from frost. When spring comes and the soil warms up, they rake off such a shelter and begin to care for the seedlings, periodically thinning them out.

With the seedling method, before sowing, stratification of the seed material of amsonia should be carried out in order to accelerate germination. About a month before sowing, the seeds are placed on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator or in the vegetable compartment so that they are kept there at a temperature of 0-5 degrees. This is best done in early February. When the month has passed, then before the sowing itself, the seeds are soaked in warm water per day. Sowing for growing seedlings is performed in March using seedling boxes filled with a nutrient substrate (peat chips and sand can be mixed in equal parts).

After the seeds of amsonia are placed in the ground, the container with them is placed in a place where the heat indicators will be within 20-24 degrees. When leaving, you need to regularly moisten the soil when its surface begins to dry out. It is important to note that the seed will take a long time to germinate. When the seedlings appear, they can be cut down after unfolding a pair of leaves in separate pots and only with the arrival of next spring they can be transplanted into open ground. It is noted that flowering in such plants can be expected only in the second year from sowing.

Propagation of amsonia by cuttings

For this operation, cuttings are removed from the bush in early June and planted in a prepared place in the garden. It is better that while the "young" seedlings do not adapt enough to provide shading and regular soil moisture. Planting can be carried out in pots and only when the cuttings have independent root processes, plant them in a permanent place of growth.

Amsonia bush propagation by division

This method is suitable for the cultivation of varietal shrubs, since with seed it is not always possible to preserve the maternal characteristics of the emerging plants. For this, the bush must have at least 10 years of life. For division, the time is set at the beginning of September. With the help of a well-built shovel, a division is cut off from the mother specimen, with a sufficient number of roots and stems. Do not make it too small, as you can lose both the seedling and the parent plant of Amsonia. Before planting, the sections must be treated with charcoal powder. If this is not available, take pharmacy activated carbon and grind to a powdery state. When planting, they try to leave about 1–1, 2 m between the plots.

Controlling diseases and pests when growing amsonia in the garden

Amsonia is growing

You can please gardeners with the fact that, despite its tenderness, the plant is quite resistant to various diseases that can cause representatives of the flora. It is only important not to violate the rules of agricultural technology mentioned above.

However, Amsonia does not have such resistance to harmful insects. Among the pests causing significant damage to the "Blue Star" bush, botanists have identified:

  1. Spider mite, sucking the nutritious juices from the leaves of the plant, while all parts of the bush begin to be covered with a whitish cobweb, the leaves turn yellow and fly around. If measures to combat are not taken in time, then such a "blanket" will wrap up the planting of flowers, and they may die.
  2. Aphids - multiple green or black bugs, the number of which is growing rapidly. They also feed on cell juices, biting through the surface of the leaves, therefore, due to such punctures, the deciduous mass turns yellow and dries out. It is also a problem that aphids can carry incurable viral diseases, then the plantings of amsonia will have to be removed and burned so that other plants in the garden do not suffer.

To combat these harmful insects, it is recommended to treat the plantings with insecticidal preparations with a wide spectrum of action, for example, such as Aktara, Actellik or Karbofos. After 7-10 days of spraying, it is recommended to repeat it, as insects will appear on the bushes, hatching from the eggs laid. Treatments should be carried out at the specified interval until the pests are completely destroyed.

Types and varieties of amsonia

In the photo Amsonia tebermontana

Amsonia tabernaemontana

grows in its natural environment, spreading from Illinois to New Jersey reaching southern regions (Texas and Florida). The plant gives preference to damp forests. It is represented by a perennial with a herbaceous vegetation, characterized by erect stems, the surface of which is well leafy. The deciduous mass has a narrow shape, leaves are somewhat similar to willow leaves.In the summer, they have a grayish tint, by autumn they change to a golden color scheme, famous for its high decorativeness.

Amsonia tebermontana blooms from late spring to June. Terminal inflorescences in the form of paniculate curls, composed of funnel-shaped flowers of a pale blue hue.

In gardening, the following forms are most popular:

  • Salicifolia (var.salicifolia) or Willow, characterized by flowers with blue petals, while the throat of the corolla is whitish. Flowering lasts about a month. Large-sized flowers can firmly hold on to the stems, regardless of weather whims. The leaf plates have narrower outlines, are devoid of pubescence on the reverse side, while the elongated stems do not grow so erect, reaching 0.8 m in height. Their color is purple. The root is woody, which differs from most members of the genus. Used for cutting.
  • Montana (var. Montana) or Mountain - the bushes are more compact, the stems do not exceed a height of 0.6 m, foliage with wide contours, and the color of the petals in flowers is dark blue.

When choosing bushes with more compact sizes, you should pay attention to the variety Shot Stack (Short Stack), the height of the shoots does not exceed 25 cm.

The basic species is easy to care for and can grow for a long time in the same place after planting. In this case, both a sunny and semi-shady place are suitable, loams and a sandy or clay substrate act as soil. Tall stems sometimes require garters and pruning in order to form the crown. After flowering is over, so that the bush does not take on an unkempt appearance, it should be cut off. Growing requires high humidity. High frost resistance. It is used in gardens for the formation of curbs, gardens of natural direction or for cutting.

In the photo of Amsoniy Khabricht

Amsonia hubrichtii

The southern and central states of the United States are considered to be their native lands. The specific name was given thanks to the memory of the naturalist Leslie Habricht, who discovered the plant in 1940. In nature, preference for growth is given to open and sunny locations, as well as semi-shady places. The soil should be highly drained and fairly moist. To achieve a longer flowering, it is recommended to plant in the shade, but if there is a goal in the fall to get a brightly colored deciduous crown, then a sunny flower bed is needed.

In a semi-shady place, the shoots of Habricht's amsonia can be stretched and it is recommended to tie them up, otherwise, they lodged. After flowering is complete, all inflorescences should be removed so that the plant remains beautiful in the fall. While the bushes are pleasing with flowers, they attract a large number of butterflies to the site. This species looks best in group plantings. Not afraid of pests and diseases.

Perennial with unusual characteristics. The stems are erect. The foliage has narrowed threadlike outlines, resembling needles, acquiring a feathery shape. The color of the deciduous mass is bright green, there is no pubescence on the surface, which makes Amsonia Habricht different from other species. The flowering process occurs at the end of spring. The inflorescences at the tops of the stems are composed of flowers with pale blue petals. With the arrival of autumn, the leaves acquire a golden yellow color, adding decorativeness to the bush.

In the photo Amsonius Louis

Amsonia ludoviciana

in natural conditions, the territory of distribution begins from the southern region of the Carolina, stretching to Louisiana (USA). It is quite difficult to find this species in culture. The color of the leaf plates is grayish-green, on the reverse side of the foliage with pubescence. The shape of the leaves is wide. Flowering occurs at the end of May. The inflorescences consist of flowers with azure-bluish petals. The characteristic features are similar to the species Amsonia tabernaemontana, while drought is more easily tolerated by it.

Amsonia kearneyana

her native land is Arizona (USA), where the plant is called "Kearney's bluestar". The specific name was given in honor of Thomas Henry Kearney, a botanist who specialized in the plants of the American Southwest. Occurs in the Babokiwari Mountains of Pima County and south of the border in Sonora, Mexico. The plant was federally listed as an endangered species in 1989. Since that time, attempts have been made to reproduce by hand in order to increase the number of specimens. Threats to these plants, spread over the tiny indigenous territory, are habitat destruction from livestock and flash floods in the river canyon. Many of the specimens cannot reproduce because their seeds are sterile and not viable, but this is likely due to insect predation on the seeds as they develop.

Amsonia kirniana is a perennial herb that grows from a thick root in rocky soils. It produces up to 50 hairy stems, reaching up to 90 cm in height, forming a hemispherical bush that can be almost 2 meters wide. The spear-shaped leaves are up to 10 cm long and 1–2 cm wide. The inflorescence has the shape of clusters of white flowers 1–2 cm long. The corolla is a tubular opening with a flat surface with short rounded petals. The fruit is a pod, the length of which can reach 10 cm. It contains relatively large seeds, which are about 1 cm long and 1.5 cm wide.

Amsonia eastwoodiana

rarely found in gardens on Russian lands. Most of these plants can be seen in gardens in the south, since in nature the species is widespread in the Mediterranean and shows high demands on growing conditions. The height of the stems is 0.6–1 m. The leaf plates are large, their outlines are ovoid and slightly elongated. From the moment of unfolding (from early May to late autumn), the deciduous mass changes color from green to golden yellowish.

In summer, in the eastern amsonia, inflorescences are formed from large-sized flowers, the petals of which can vary in color from pale blue and lavender to deep blue. A large number of them fall on numerous stem processes.

In the photo, Amsonia ciliate

Amsonia ciliate (Amsonia ciliata)

The native area of ​​growth falls on the lands of the southeastern regions of the United States. In its characteristics, the bush is very similar to the rest of the classical species of the representatives of the genus, but the foliage takes a needle-like shape and has a slight pubescence, resembling cilia, for which the specific name was given. Thanks to this, the plant stands out on the site. Stems vary in height within 60–70 cm. In the same way as in many amsonias, foliage initially green by autumn acquires a rich yellow tone.

The species is frost-resistant, it is recommended to choose a sunny location for planting. If the end of spring was warm, then in mid-May at the ends of the shoots the formation of inflorescences, made up of small sky-blue flowers, takes place.

Related article: How to grow and propagate Holarena at home

Video about growing amsonia in open field conditions:

Photos of amsonia:

Amsonia Photos 1 Amsonia Photos 2 Amsonia Photos 3 Amsonia Photos 4 Amsonia Photos 5

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