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Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia

willowleaf bluestar add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 2'-3'

Bloom Time: May, June

Bloom Color: blue

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: attracts butterflies, cut flowers, deer resistant, drought tolerant, fall interest, ornamental foliage

Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia (willowleaf bluestar)
  • Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia (willowleaf bluestar)
  • Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia (willowleaf bluestar)
  • Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia (willowleaf bluestar)

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Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia

Also known as:

willowleaf bluestar


eastern bluestar

Scientific Synonyms:

Amsonia salicifolia


Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia is a naturally occurring variety that can be distinguished from the straight species by its narrower, willow-like foliage. In fact, salicifolia means with Salix-like leaves (Salix being the botanical name for willows). It is an elegant perennial with a neat, rounded form, that develops a shrub-like appearance with age. The foliage is lime-green when it emerges, becoming dark green in summer, and producing excellent fall color with shades of gold. In spring, the plants display a profusion of delicate, pale blue to lavender star-shaped flowers on terminal clusters.


Willowleaf bluestar is easy to grow and adaptable. This species can be found growing in wetlands and floodplains where it may be exposed to seasonal flooding, yet, mature plants are also quite resistant to periods of drought. This tolerance of both wet feet and dry spells, makes it a good choice for use in rain gardens. It is all but maintenance free when grown in average garden conditions with moist, well-drained soil, and in full sun. It will tolerate some shade, but this can lead to leggy stems that will flop over without staking, or will require pruning to maintain the plant's compact form. It enjoys a long blooming period of up to 4 weeks, beginning in late-spring. Zones 5-9


May be propagated by division of mature clumps in early spring. Fresh seeds will germinate immediately after sowing. Stored seeds will remain viable for several years but will require soaking and nicking to improve germination. Plants propagated from seeds will flower the second year after germination.

Additional Notes

Amsonias produce a milky sap that is mildly irritant. Although it is of no concern to gardeners, it helps keep rabbits, deer, and other herbivores at bay. The botanical family name Apocynaceae, is derived from the Greek apocynum, meaning noxious or distasteful to dogs; hence the common family name Dogbane.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Gentianales
Family Apocynaceae Dogbane family
Genus Amsonia bluestar
Species Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia willowleaf bluestar