Plant of the Month – October, 2007

Laurentia axillaris ‘Starshine Blue’ and ‘Beth’s Blue’

At a glance
Latin Name: Laurentia axillaris ‘Starshine Blue’ and ‘Beth’s Blue’
Common Name: blue star flower, blue star creeper, isotoma, and shooting stars
Flowers: 1-inch, elongated, blue, star-shaped flowers
Foliage: fine-textured mats of medium-green
Mature height: 12 inches in flower; spread of 18 inches
Hardiness: Zones 8-9 as perennial, anywhere as annual
Soil: acid to alkaline
Exposure: full sun
Water usage: medium
Sources: Mail-order or local retail nurseries

If you are familiar with me, then you know I’m opinionated about which plants will or won’t survive in Texas. Usually, that includes anything that grows well in the Northeast or Northwest, anything with soft, lacy, delicate foliage, and almost everything with true-blue flowers. So, when I received a plant to test that had delicate, lacy foliage, true-blue flowers, and that grows well in the both in New England and the Northwest, let’s just say I was skeptical. OK, I was downright pessimistic, cynical and unenthusiastic about it. I even planted it in full sun so its demise would be quick and painless.

I planted laurentia in March, and I thought it would surely be dead by June. But from the day they were planted, the plants were vigorous mats of soft-green foliage strewn with star-shaped, blue flowers. Every day, I’d walk by and think, “Wow, that is beautiful! Too bad it’ll turn brown tomorrow and die.” Tomorrow would come, and I would think the same thing. That’s when I realized it was the middle of July and Laurentia ‘Beth’s Blue’ and ‘Starshine Blue’ both were still in flower. That’s when I started to pay attention.

Then came August, September and October, and they were still doing great! The plants spread to 18 inches across and got about 12 inches tall. The blue flowers were a constant constellation of azure stars waving in every breeze above the foliage. I take pride in our tag line at the Dallas Arboretum Trial Program “If we can’t kill it no one can!”, so you can bet I’ll be testing it again this coming summer.

If you’d like to try out Laurentia ‘Beth’s Blue’ or ‘Starshine Blue,’ I recommend planting it in combination planters, window boxes or in areas near main paths. Blue flowers don’t show up well from a distance. I think it would be incredible mixed with pastel colors or maybe in a more striking combination with an orange-colored coleus.

Learn more about the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials at

About the author: Jimmy Turner is the Director of Horticulture Research at the Dallas Arboretum. For more plant profiles by Jimmy, subscribe to Neil Sperry’s GARDENS Magazine.

The Arboretum is getting ready for the largest outdoor floral festival in the Southwest: Dallas Blooms, March 10-April 15! More than 400,000 spring-blooming bulbs have been planted, including tulips, daffodils, Dutch Iris and hyacinth. Pansies and violas have been planted on top of the bulbs, creating a spectrum of color during the winter months while the Arboretum waits for the spring blooms. This year’s theme of Dallas Blooms is “Flower Power,” celebrating the 60s and 70s with many activities, concerts and displays. Check for more details.

Join us this spring in the garden and let us grow your mind! For a full calendar of classes and descriptions, or to register for classes, go to, and click on LEARN, or call (214) 515-6540. Join us this spring and let us bring nature to life for you!

Posted by Neil Sperry
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