Why You’ll Want To Grow Amsonia Next To Your Spring Bulbs In The Garden

Why You'll Want To Grow Amsonia Next To Your Spring Bulbs In The Garden

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves selecting which flowers to plant next to each other based on their potential benefits. This method can help create a balanced garden or flower bed. For example, some plants are known to repel pests and can be beneficial for plants that are more prone to pest problems. Other plants can help prevent weeds, promote pollination, and improve soil health for their neighboring flowers.

In some cases, companion planting is as simple as pairing two plants together because they complement each other visually or grow well together in the same garden conditions. This is the case with Amsonia and spring bulbs. While many spring bulbs produce shorter bursts of brightly colored flowers, Amsonia is a taller, spring-blooming perennial that produces delicate star-shaped flowers and soft needle-like leaves. It comes in several varieties, such as blue ice and thread-leaf, and together, they can create a stunning spring flowerbed display.

How to plant Amsonia and spring bulbs together

Amsonia closeup


The varieties of Amnosia and spring bulbs you plant will depend on which USDA hardiness zone you live in. Both Amsonia and many popular spring bulb flowers — like tulips — prefer full sun. Select an area for your garden or bed that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Where these plants differ is in their soil moisture requirements. Amsonia prefers moist soil, while most spring bulbs require well-draining soil that doesn’t retain too much moisture. These differences can be overcome by choosing an area with well-draining soil and then taking a few simple precautions when planting your Amsonia.

When planting Amsonia, add organic matter to the soil at its base. This may include worm castings, manure, or decomposing leaves. Once you’ve finished planting, cover the base of the Amsonia with several inches of organic mulch. These steps are not necessary for your spring-blooming bulbs, which tend to prefer less heat and moisture retention. Both your bulbs and Amsonia can be planted in the fall and will emerge the following spring.

How to care for Amsonia and spring bulbs together

Vintage couple works in flower garden

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Since Amsonia best serves spring bulbs as a backdrop, it isn’t difficult to satisfy its thirstier nature without overwatering your bulb flowers. In addition to helping your Amsonia retain more water at the base by incorporating organic matter and a mulch covering, you can use drip irrigation to deliver constant moisture to the plant’s roots. Since most spring bulb flowers prefer soil that dries out between weekly waterings, this allows both plants to thrive while still serving as a perfectly paired spring forefront and backdrop.

Incorporating drip irrigation to supply constant moisture to your Amsonia can be as simple as placing a watering globe at the base of each plant. These inexpensive and often decorative glass globes can be filled with water and inserted by the spiked neck into the soil near a plant’s roots, providing a constant water source that is absorbed slowly between waterings. You can purchase a two-pack of Tomorotec globes on Amazon for $13.99.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.