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Latest Trial: Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region
Trial Garden

Mt. Cuba Center evaluates native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value.

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Back to trial Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region

Trial Garden

Amsonia ciliata var. tenuifolia (and similar small cultivars)

4 Photos


Amsonia ciliata var. tenuifolia (fringed bluestar) is a smaller variety of A. ciliata with narrower foliage. Five accessions were included in the trial: three plants from Mt. Cuba’s collection that originated from the southeastern United States, and two cultivars. Each plant has a compact habit, never surpassing 2′ high, and very fine-textured, thread-like foliage. Amsonia ciliata var. tenuifolia forms neat clumps, although there is a tendency for stems to flop, a trait that could be improved by siting the plants in lean dry soils and full sun.


Similar Small Cultivars

The cultivar Amsonia ciliata ‘Spring Sky’, introduced by local plantsman Rick Darke, has slightly broader foliage and a showier floral display than the wild-type plants. This cultivar is much smaller than the examples of A. ciliata described in the previous section, so it is discussed here with plants of similar stature. The second cultivar, Amsonia ciliata var. tenuifolia ‘Georgia Pancake’, is noteworthy for its prostrate habit. Discovered by plantsman Bob McCartney in Georgia and later introduced by Plant Delights Nursery, this is often sold as a cultivar of Amsonia ciliata var. filifolia, a synonym of A. ciliata var. tenuifolia. Georgia Pancake fringed bluestar has a height of 9″ and spreads slowly by rhizomes, eventually forming a unique groundcover.


Name Rating Size Category Habit Foliage Texture Floral Display
Amsonia ciliata var. tenuifolia 3.9 small clumping fine good – excellent
Amsonia ciliata ‘Spring Sky’ 4.9 small clumping fine excellent
Amsonia ciliata var. tenuifolia ‘Georgia Pancake’ 3.9 small spreading fine fair



  • Rating
    3.9 to 4.9 
  • Common Name
    fringed bluestar