Description & Overview

Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers. In spring, willow-like, shiny, green foliage is accented with near-black flower buds that open up to stormy, blue star-like flowers. Foliage stays clean throughout the season until fall when it turns brilliant shades of yellow and bronze. Blue Ice Amsonia is an excellent landscaping plant and a staff favorite at Johnson’s Nursery.

Core Characteristics

Category: Perennial

Wisconsin Native: No - Variety of North American Native

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 18 inches

Mature Spread: 20 inches

Growth Rate: Perennial

Growth Form: Compact, mounded, clump - forming

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Average to dry, well - drained

Flower: Blue/periwinkle, star - shaped

Bloom Period: May – June

Foliage: Shiny green, willow - like

Fall Color: Bronze/Yellow

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Elongated seed pods

Suggested Uses

Amsonia performs best in full sun to part shade. Too much shade will cause the stems to flop and require support and produce the best flowering and fall color in full sun. Amsonia should not be planted in sites with poorly drained or wet soils.

Blue Ice’s compact habit makes this a great plant for bordering or edging sidewalks, walkways, or driveways. The stems don’t flop nor do they need to be cut back prior to blooming to maintain a smaller height. Amsonia is also very drought tolerant once established. It’s a low-maintenance, colorful option for an otherwise ordinary area of the landscape.

Use Blue Ice Amsonia as a complementary perennial around accent plants in garden beds. The pink or white flowers of Lollipop crabapples contrast with the blue flowers, which incidentally provide a nice pop of blue color alongside many other perennials. A green screen of trees would also benefit from the burst of color provided by the spring flowers and fall color of Blue Ice Amsonia.

Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers.…
Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers.…
Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers.…

Wildlife Value

Blue Ice Amsonia has flowers that are not only appealing to people but insects, too. It is the host plant for the Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis), Great Ash Sphinx Moth (Sphinx chersis), Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus), and Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta).

Other visitors to the flowers include the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, carpenter bees, hummingbird moths, Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorus), Poecila Sphinx (Sphinx poecila), Apple Sphinx (Sphinx gordius) Northern Blue (Plebejus idas), Arogos Skipper (Atrytone arogos), Edward’s Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis), Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon), Monarch (Danaus plexippus), and Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops).

Maintenance Tips

Deadheading is not required as it will not bloom again in one season.

Pruning can promote bushier growth but should be done after flowering. Note that pruning will remove seedpods. Be sure to wear gloves as this plant will exude white latex that can be irritating to sensitive skin.

Like other perennials, plants will recede into the ground each fall. You may choose to leave stems up or cut them down; they will break under snow load, so they aren’t particularly winter interest heavy.

Plants can be divided; in early spring or fall. Ensure that each division has at least one eye.

No need to fertilize as it may cause floppy stems.

Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers.…
Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers.…

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: Yes
Rabbit Resistant: Yes

The plant’s milky sap deters rabbits and deer from browsing.

No known serious insect or disease problems.

Leaf Lore

The genus Amsonia is named after Dr. Charles Amson, an 18th-century scientific traveler in America.

Blue Ice Amsonia was “reportedly discovered growing with A. tabernaemontana seedlings in a greenhouse at White Flower Farm. The parentage has apparently not yet been definitively determined.”

Companion Plants

Blue Ice Amsonia can stand on its own in the landscape or can be paired with other plants. It looks great when paired with Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), Glossy Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa var. elata), Hummelo Lambs Ear (Stachys monnieri ‘Hummelo’), Rose Marvel Salvia (Salvia nemorosa ‘Rose Marvel’ PP30,118), Montrose White Calamint (Calamintha nepeta ‘Montrose White’), Blue Zinger Sedge (Carex glauca ‘Blue Zinger’), Drummon’s Pink Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata ‘Drummon’s Pink’), White Wild Indigo (Baptisia alba), Dark Towers Penstemon (Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ PP20,013), Pardon Me Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’), ‘Millenium’ Ornamental Onion (Allium ‘Millenium’), and Karmina Geranium (Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’).

Blue Ice Amsonia is a likely cultivar of Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willowleaf Amsonia) parentage, but is much more compact and has deeper blue flowers.…
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Written by Beth DeLain