Fall Yellows – Amsonia hubrictii

The leaves continue to turn — this really is  my favorite of all the seasons…

Second in my little autumn inspired series….is a yellow plant.   Not really yellow all year round, it’s show stopper yellow-ness is really a fall – just right now – sort of  thing.  Do you know the plant Amsonia hubrictii?

This is what it would be doing if it were outside your window right now…

Amsonia hubrictii

image from Avant Gardens (where you can also buy this plant).

Amsonia hubrictii

image from the garden buzz.

The rest of the summer it looks more like this:

Amsonia hubrichtii arkansas bluestar

image by William Cullina

which is where it gets its common name – Arkansas Bluestar — so named for its flush of baby blue flowers in the summer.

I haven’t grown this,  so cannot offer you any sort of real world advice or anecdotes (though if you have grown it, please share your experiences  in the comments).  But I am thinking I am going to give it a try, since after all, it has been named the Perennial Plant Association’s ‘plant of the year’ for 2011 — so it will likely be easy to find this spring.

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Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. ~fer on October 20, 2010 at 1:47 am

    a sea of yellow! beautiful.

  2. Laurrie on October 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Amsonias take at least 3 years to get established. My hubrichtii is a year old and it is flopping all over the ground like a toddler having a tantrum. But in a couple years it will fill out and get all frothy looking like the photos you show, and yes, they really do get bright yellow! They are very late to come up in the spring, and the pretty blue flowers are kind of brief, but it’s a really neat plant for leaf effect, structure, and certainly for that fall color!

  3. HYANNISPORT on October 20, 2010 at 11:55 am

    THis plant is in my top ten list of plants for its all season interest. It has lovely blue star like flowers in the spring ( that do not need deadheading) then beautiful ferny foliage all summer long and then this incredible yellow smokebush like foliage in the fall. It is easy to grow and I love it

  4. Laurie Brown on October 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I just got some baby amsonias, from a gardening job- the clumps were seeding into the paths with enthusiasm, so I brought some of the wee unwanteds home. These happy clumps are on a rocky incline that is a )*$*! to water; they just sort of have bowls of enriched soil to grow in. The site gets sun about half the day. I fertilized them with time release mid summer, which is apparently what they have been getting in prior years. The leaves are *just* starting to change color. I was startled earlier in the year when they bloomed- they all went off at once, in a most lovely, icy blue.

  5. Sarah Roberts on May 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I grew this at The New York Botanical Garden, and later in my garden in Atlanta. It is a fantastic perennial in either location. It will take at least 2 years to establish from a 1g pot size. You’ll wonder what’s so great the first year as it sprawls around near the ground. Wait for it though! It has very sweet pale blue flowers in early spring and has disease and pest resistant billowy foliage all summer before turning that amazing gold in the fall. Looks great in mass. Mine are planted only 1-1.5′ apart so I could get them to fill in faster. They aren’t suffering at all for close spacing. They each get about 3′ wide. They are very drought tolerant as well. I have them baking in a full sun, southern exposure, hot Atlanta bank in amended soil. They love it. In NY it was in afternoon sun and well irrigated. Very happy there too. Looks great with Sedum ‘Herbstfroede’ / Autumn Joy, Aster ‘October Skies’, Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’, Chrysanthemum ‘Thanksgiving’ and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’.

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