Plant Encyclopedia

'Storm Cloud' Bluestar

Amsonia tabernaemontana

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'Storm Cloud' Bluestar

Discover More Information On 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar

The 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is a stunning perennial that brings a unique beauty to any garden with its striking dark stems and lush, olive-green leaves accented by silver veins. As spring arrives, this plant transforms garden spaces with its wide, mounding, shrub-like habit, creating a visual spectacle that's both captivating and serene. The star of the show, however, are the delicate periwinkle blue flowers that bloom atop the foliage in early summer and late spring, offering a mesmerizing contrast against the dark stems and greenery.

An award-winning variety, 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar is not only a feast for the eyes but also a practical choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plants. It's heat tolerant, deer resistant, and native to North America, making it a resilient and eco-friendly addition to landscapes. This perennial thrives under a range of light conditions, from part sun to full sun, and is adaptable to various soil types, whether it be average, fertile, or even poor soil, as long as it's well-drained.

Plant Attributes

The 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar is renowned for its distinctive attributes that make it a standout plant in any garden setting. One of its most striking features is the incredibly dark, almost black stems that emerge in spring, setting a dramatic backdrop for the lush foliage that follows. The leaves themselves are a beautiful olive green, with prominent silver veins that add a unique texture and depth to the plant's overall appearance. As the season progresses, these leaves become the perfect canvas for the periwinkle blue, star-shaped flowers that appear, creating a stunning contrast that is both eye-catching and serene.

This perennial is not only visually appealing but also boasts a range of characteristics that cater to the needs of modern gardeners. Its low maintenance nature means that it requires minimal care once established, making it an ideal choice for those who seek beauty in their gardens without the constant upkeep. The 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar is heat tolerant, allowing it to thrive in areas where the summer sun is intense, and is also resistant to deer, ensuring that its beauty remains unspoiled by browsing animals.

Landscape Use

The 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is a versatile perennial that can be used in a variety of landscaping applications, thanks to its striking appearance and easy-care nature. Its unique attributes make it suitable for several garden styles and uses, including:

  • Border Plantings: With its compact size and attractive foliage, 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar serves as an excellent choice for border plantings, creating a neat and cohesive look along the edges of garden beds or walkways.
  • Mass Planting: For a dramatic effect, it can be planted in large groups or drifts, where its dark stems, lush foliage, and periwinkle blue flowers can create a sea of color and texture, offering a stunning visual impact across the seasons.
  • Specimen or Focal Point: Its unique dark stems and vibrant blooms make it a perfect specimen plant. Placed in a strategic location within the garden, it can draw the eye and serve as a central point around which other plantings are arranged.
  • Landscape: 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar can be used throughout the landscape to add structure, color, and texture. It's particularly effective in mixed beds, providing contrast against other perennials and shrubs.
  • Native Plant Gardens: As a native North American plant, it's an excellent choice for native plant gardens, supporting local ecosystems and providing habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
  • Pollinator Gardens: Its flowers are attractive to pollinators, making it a valuable addition to gardens designed to support bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
  • Low Maintenance Landscaping: Given its drought tolerance once established, 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar is ideal for low-maintenance and water-wise gardens, reducing the need for regular watering and care.
  • Naturalistic and Cottage Gardens: Its natural growth habit and soft, periwinkle blue flowers lend well to naturalistic and cottage garden designs, creating a relaxed and informal aesthetic.

By incorporating 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar into the landscape, gardeners can enjoy a blend of aesthetic appeal, ecological benefits, and ease of care, making it a versatile and valuable addition to a wide range of garden designs and settings.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for the 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) are straightforward processes that reward the gardener with a stunning display of foliage and flowers. Here are some guidelines to ensure the successful establishment and growth of this beautiful perennial in your garden:

Planting Instructions:

  • Timing: Plant 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar in early spring or fall to allow the plant time to establish its root system before the extremes of summer heat or winter cold.
  • Location: Choose a location that receives full sun to part shade. Although it can tolerate a range of light conditions, optimal flowering occurs with more sunlight.
  • Soil: This plant is adaptable to various soil types but thrives best in well-drained soil. Amend heavy clay soils with compost to improve drainage.
  • Spacing: Space plants approximately 30 to 36 inches apart to allow for their mature spread, ensuring good air circulation and reducing the risk of disease.
  • Planting: Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Gently remove the plant from its container, loosen the roots, and place it in the hole. Fill the hole with soil, press firmly to remove air pockets, and water thoroughly.

Care Instructions:

  • Watering: Water regularly to keep the soil moist, especially during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar is moderately drought-tolerant, requiring less frequent watering.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weed growth.
  • Fertilizing: Feed with a general-purpose fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins. This plant does not require heavy fertilization; too much can inhibit flowering.
  • Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional blooming. In late fall or early spring, cut back the foliage to the ground to tidy up the plant and promote healthy, new growth in the spring.
  • Disease and Pest Control: 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar is relatively disease and pest-resistant, especially to deer. However, keep an eye out for common garden pests and diseases, and treat as necessary using appropriate methods.

By following these planting and care tips, your 'Storm Cloud' Bluestar should thrive and bring beauty to your garden with its unique foliage and charming blue flowers for many years.

Additional Information

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'Storm Cloud' Bluestar


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Watering Needs: Average moisture; moderately drought-tolerant once established.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: am-SO-nee-a tab-er-nae-mon-TAY-na
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Herbaceous
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: Grows to a height of 24-30 inches and a spread of 38-42 inches.
  • Special features: Award Winner, Heat Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Native to North America, Low Maintenance
  • Dramatic Foliage: Olive green leaves with silver veins
  • Foliage color: Green
  • Blooms: Early Summer, Late Spring
  • Flower color: Blue
  • Flower attributes: Star-shaped, periwinkle blue flowers
  • Garden style: Cottage, Naturalistic, Ecological
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for borders, mass plantings, or as a specimen in the landscape. Its mounded habit makes it perfect for adding structure and interest to gardens. Can be used in native plant gardens, as part of a pollinator-friendly garden, or in mixed perennial beds for a splash of cool color. Its low maintenance and drought tolerance make it suitable for xeriscaping.
  • Companion Plants: Pairs well with other native perennials like Echinacea (Coneflower), Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), and grasses that appreciate similar growing conditions, creating a vibrant and sustainable garden design.

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