Houstonia caerulea (Bluets) - a photographic essay

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Very nice Harold, a good clear blue color, I like it, wish I had some as blue as that!  Hopefully it'll seed around for you.  

I'm starting to tuck little bits of H. caerulea at the edges of woodland paths, in the tiniest of spots between rocks and logs, and they look so perky and natural.  Here is one such scenario:

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Very cute flowers!
Can hardly wait for my seedlings to appear ;D

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

externmed
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-03-01

Funny how they thrive in barren compacted clay soil, but die out in garden soil, at least in my part of Massachusetts.  Occasionally get a few in the lawn, too.

"Solarized" a patch of barren soil and they bloomed there next spring, suggesting that plants germinating in the early fall can flower the next spring.

Charles Swanson NE Massachusetts

NE Massachusetts (New England) USA  zone 6 (5B to 6B)

gardens visited, photographs:  www.flickr.com/photos/wildmeadow

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Late in the season, Houstonia caerulea retracts into a basal cushion of foliage.  Older plants tend to die off, so I would call this species a short-lived perennial, fortunately seedlings are popping up here and there, which I welcome.  In the first photo you can see some seedling plants off to the right of a parent plant, with some dried flower stem remnants.  In the photo on the right is a mound that flowered prolifically all spring and well into the summer, showing a profusion of dried stem remnants, the mound looking strong and hunkered down for the winter.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Reviving an old post here.  Yesterday I potted up a dense domed hummock of Houstonia careulea, plus a couple seedling clumps from it, into a clay pot, to enjoy the evergreen mounds over winter on my deck.  The pot is from Grand Ridge Nursery (Phil Pearson, Steve Doonan) of Issaquah Washington, that I brought back with me when I returned to Massachusetts in 1986 after a 4 years living near Seattle Washington.  These pots are special, beautiful high-fire pots designed to resist winter breakage, intended for alpine plants; 26 years years outside and planted and still intact.  Using indigenous rock (all I need to do is dig a hole to unearth lots and lots of such rocks), the stone mulch, while appearing a different color, is the same crumbling rock that I break up with a hammer.

Not all Houstonia caerulea clump up so nice and dense, many grow as wispy little nothings, but those that do tend to grow densely are genetically stable, and make wonderful little cushions that look great all winter.  In spring they will flower for more than 2 months, smothered with short-stemmed clouds of white tinged blue.

  

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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