Photo: Blue star

General description

Common Name: blue star
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Description: Pale blue with white throats
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flowers: Showy Flowers
Leaves: Good Fall Color
Tolerates: Clay Soil, Drought, Deer
Uses: Cut Flower, Rain Garden


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, loamy soils. Tolerates some drought. When grown in full sun, plants often require no pruning or staking though they tend to lean. When grown in some shade and/or in rich soils, however, plants tend to become more open and floppy and often require staking or pruning. For a neater appearance, particularly for shade-grown plants, consider cutting back stems by 1/2 to 1/3 after flowering to promote bushy growth and, if desired, a more rounded foliage mound.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This bluestar is a Missouri native plant (a naturally occurring variation) which is most frequently found in thickets and in rich soils near bluffs in the southwestern part of the state. A clump-forming perennial which features terminal, pyramidal clusters of 3/4", soft light blue, star-like flowers with white throats in late spring atop somewhat leaning, leafy stems growing 2-3' tall. Extremely narrow, willow-shaped, dull green foliage may turn attractive shades of yellow in fall. This variation primarily differs from the species by having less erect stems and narrower leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems. Taller plants may require staking, particularly if grown in shade and not pruned after flowering.

Garden Uses

An easy-to-grow plant which is best massed in informal settings such as native plant gardens, shade gardens or open woodland areas. Also appropriate for corners of borders.


80 - 100 cm