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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - April 25, 2013

From: Worcester, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Wildflowers
Title: Souce for Houstonia caerulea in Massachusetts
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for bluet (Houstonia caerulea or H. serpyllifolia). I can't find them anywhere. The two sites listed under possible distributors under H. caerulea have not gotten back to me. I read that bluets are on the endangered species list on the USDA site. If this is true, is there an effort to cultivate seeds? I would very much like bluets for my yard here in Massachusetts but can't find them anywhere. I hope you can help me.

ANSWER:

The wonderful little bluet (Houstonia caerulea) that is native to the eastern part of North America will take some patience to obtain. The demand for this beloved plant has overcome the availability. You may need to plan to order seed or reserve plants well in advance (or as soon as it becomes available) to get some for next season.

By the way, the Delaware Nature Society have a few plants of H. caerulea available for sale at their upcoming plant sale this year.

Gardensnorth.com did have seeds but they have sold out for this year. Perhaps they can let you know when more seed will be available.

Another option is to join the North American Rock Garden Society. They offer donated seed to their members early in the year and did have Houstonia caerulea on the (now closed) 2012-2013 list.

As far as the plant's conservation status, The New England Wildflower Society have a very informative webpage for Houstonia caerulea and indicate on their Distribution and Conservation page that it is “present” in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The USDA list several Houstonia as threatened and endangered, but not H. caerulea. The ones that are threatened and endangered are H. serpyllifolia (thymeleaf bluet) native to the Southeast, H. purpurea (Venus’ pride) also in the Southeast, and H. longifolia (longleaf summer bluet) from the central part of North America. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Azure bluet
Houstonia caerulea

Azure bluet
Houstonia caerulea

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