Monday, January 24th, 2011...12:00 am

Amsonia: 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year

Arkansas Amsonia In Spring by deepintheforestcat

In my garden I grow a plant that I love called Amsonia. l am also flattered that so many people who pass – even those driving by- my garden stop to ask the name of the plant when it is in flower. One woman, a friend who is a member of the local Master Gardening Assoc., even stopped to ask me what it was and where I bought it. I had bought my plant at Russell Gardens Wholesale. Because I was planning another trip there when she asked, I offered to purchase an Amsonia for her.

The Amsonia plants are native North American plants. Depending on the variety, they can grow in hardiness zones 3 -9. They grow into a mounded form and send out lovely pale blue starry flowers at the top of the stems during the spring season. The Amsonia plant likes more moisture when its a young plant but will tolerate drought when it matures. My Amsonia seemed to tolerate last year’s horrendous drought. They will tolerate partial shade. If planted in full sun the leaves are supposed to turn a pretty fall color. Mine never does. But it has been such a carefree plant that attracts such attention, I love it even without any fall color. And mine has grown so large in the 5 years that I have had it, that I divided it into two clumps and hope that it will reward me with more flowers this coming spring.

Amsonia hubrichtii by Adam Woodruff

Since I have always promoted my favorite plants, at least locally to neighbors who admire my garden, imagine my pleasure when I read that The Perennial Plant Society has chosen Amsonia hubrichtii the 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year. TheGardenLady should have been on their jury. Here is what they have to say about the plant.  (Amsonia hubrichtii grows in zones 5-8)

My Amsonia is Amsonia tabernaemontana Salicifolia (see here) not Amsonia hubrichtii. My Amsonia has wider leaves and a darker blue flower than the Amsonia hubrichtii which has more ferny, feathery foliage and a lighter, icier blue flower. But I think all the Amsonias are winners so that I am considering adding more varieties of Amsonias to my gardens.

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