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Blue Star Creeper Plant Profile

This pretty ground cover plant is the perfect grass substitute

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Looking for a low maintenance grass substitute? Alternative ground cover lawns are increasing in popularity and blue star creeper is the perfect grass substitute if you are looking to switch up the look of your lawn. Blue star creeper has a spreading and mounding growth habit, forming a dense, low mat of leafy green foliage. In the spring and summer months, blue star creeper is adorned with delicate pale purple to blue star-shaped flowers. It requires less water than a traditional grass lawn, and since it only grows to be three inches tall you can get rid of the lawnmower, because mowing is not necessary! Notorious for being a hardy plant, this Australia native can tolerate heavy foot traffic, extreme weather conditions, and even drought. Besides being a viable grass substitute, blue star creeper can also be used as a filler between patio stones, cover for spring bulbs, or as a border plant.

Botanical Name Isotoma fluviatilis
Common Name Blue Star Creeper, Swamp Isotome
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 3 inches high, 18 inch spread
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Moist, well-draining
Soil pH 6.1 – 7.8
Bloom Time Spring, summer
Flower Color Light blue, light purple
Hardiness Zones 6 – 9
Native Area Australia, New Zealand

How to Grow Blue Star Creeper

Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) is a herbaceous perennial in the Campanulaceae (or bluebell) family that is native to eastern Australia. It is characterized by short, dark green foliage and delicate, pale blue to purple flowers that grow upwards on slender stalks. Blue star creeper is an easy plant to grow, requiring little ongoing maintenance once established. It grows in a spreading and mounding habit reaching a maximum height of three to five inches, which makes it an excellent no-mow ground cover choice for residential lawns and gardens. Plant individual blue star creeper plants at least eight to 10 inches apart for thick coverage.

While blue star creepers are not invasive by definition, they are not native to the United States and can spread quickly, becoming invasive in some situations. Keep this in mind when deciding where you’d like to plant blue star creeper. It can be easily contained with deep garden barriers or walls.

Light

For full, colorful growth, blue star creeper should receive direct sunlight for most of the day. If necessary, blue star creeper can adapt to part sun but the growth may not be as dense.

Blue star creeper is not picky when it comes to soil. As long as it is planted in a moist, well-draining medium it will be happy. The soil should have a pH level between 6.1 to 7.8, or mildly acidic to alkaline.

Water

Blue star creeper can be described as having medium water needs. It is known for being drought tolerant but thrives with adequate moisture in the summer months. During the summer, keep the soil moist with regular watering to support strong growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Blue star creeper is a resilient, cold-hardy plant that can withstand temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (or -20 degrees Celsius) with snow cover. However, it thrives in the warmer seasons and requires warm spring and summer temperatures in order to survive. While the growing season varies, blue star creeper usually blooms from spring to late fall. It is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 9.

Fertilizer

Heavy fertilization is not required for blue star creeper. In fact, fertilizing blue star creeper too often can encourage aggressive growth which often becomes invasive. Fertilizing once at the beginning of the growing season with an all-purpose fertilizer will help to encourage strong new growth.

Pruning Blue Star Creeper

Shearing the foliage of a blue star creeper to about one inch tall in the late fall will help to keep the plant tidy throughout the winter and in the spring as new growth emerges. Other than this optional upkeep, blue star creeper is a low-maintenance perennial that does not require deadheading – flowering throughout the spring and summer continuously without assistance.

Propagating Blue Star Creeper

Blue star creeper is readily propagated by seed and by division. Blue star creeper spreads by rhizomes that grow both above-ground and below-ground, which means that plants can be easily divided and transplanted. When dividing blue star creeper, carefully dig around the rhizomes and root ball, preserving as many roots as possible. Gently separate plants from one another, and plant immediately.

Varieties of Blue Star Creeper

Blue star creeper is native to Australia and New Zealand and has many different varieties. The different varieties of blue star creeper mainly vary in their leaf sizes and shapes. The most popular species include:

  • Isotoma fluviatilis subsp. Australis has a corolla of 7 to 15 millimeters long with 5-15 millimeters long leaves.
  • Isotoma fluviatilis subsp. Borealis has a corolla of 6 to 10 millimeters long and looks very similar to Australis which sometimes makes it hard to tell between the two. Long pedicels in the flowers of Borealis are a distinguishing feature.
  • Isotoma fluviatilis subsp. Fluviatilis is the most common variety of blue star creeper. Its leaves are 5 to 15 centimeters long and the corolla is 4 to 7 millimeters in length.

Growing From Seed

Blue star creeper seeds can be harvested from mature plants, or purchased at a nursery or garden center. Sow the seeds on moistened seed starter mix and cover the container with newspaper. Keep the container in a location where it receives partial sunlight, and keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds sprout. Blue star creeper seeds take anywhere from 7 to 15 days to sprout so be patient!

Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) is a herbaceous perennial in the Campanulaceae (or bluebell) family that is native to eastern Australia. Learn how to grow blue star creeper.

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Do you get troubled by high maintenance lawns?

Have you ever thought that there may be a simple way to get green grass without much work?

If that’s the case, then you will be glad to know more about Blue Star Creeper ground cover plant. It’s effortless to plant and maintain. You can use it as an ornamental landscape.

Even though it is small in size, but it grows super-fast. It has large dense green leaves and is mostly evergreen throughout the year.

Let’s get started to learn to plant, grow and care for this magnificent ground cover plant.

Quick Gardening Facts for Blue Star Creeper

Blue Star Creeper is part of the genus of flowering plants Pratia and campanula family. It is an excellent choice for stepping stones and pathways in your garden. Moreover, it is a healthy plant which adds good texture and color to any part of your garden area.

It was formerly known as Laurentia Fluviatilis. It can withstand extreme weather condition, which makes it an excellent choice for lawn pathways. Many people also use it as bark or mulch replacement in the garden.

In 1810, Robert Brown discovered blue star creeper plant. Then in 1864, George Bentham classified it as an Isotoma.

Let’s look at some facts about the Blue Star Creeper.

Let’s know about Blue Star Creeper Varieties.

The Best Blue Star Creeper Varieties

Blue star creeper is the natives of Australia and New Zealand. There are many varieties of blue star creeper. But the most common are followings:

Isotoma Fluviatilis – Australis

This species of blue star creeper has corolla which is 8-16 cm long, and the leaves are 7- 15 mm long. The leaves width can vary between 2 – 7 mm range. It blooms in blue to light pink color flower.

Isotoma Fluviatilis – Borealis

It is another variety of blue star creeper and has small size corolla between 6 -10 mm long. Its leaves are 5 -12 mm long and 2 -5 mm wide. The flowers of Borealis are usually 5- 40 mm long.

Isotoma Fluviatilis – Fluviatillis

This is the most common species of blue star creeper, and many people plant this species. Its leaves are 5 – 15 mm long and the Corolla get up to 5-7 mm in length. The flower grows up to 4 – 6 mm long.

Blue Star Laurentia (Isotoma Axillaris)

It is another popular species which looks the same as blue star creeper. But it has a taller plant and gets blue star-shaped flowers with deeply cut ferny leaves.

It grows taller than other species of the blue star as it goes up to 16 inches tall. The blue star creeper Laurentia Fluviatilis can survive in winter. You can buy blue star creeper from a major retailer such as Home Depot or Lowes.

Flowers

The flowers of blue star creeper are white, light blue or dark blue in color. It has unscented star-shaped flowers, but it attracts bees, wasp, and butterflies. The growing season varies, but it usually blooms mid-spring until early winter.

It’s a low maintenance plant and does not need deadheading. This makes it super convenient to grow and maintain. The flowers of blue star creeper have six petals, and each is slightly tapered toward the end giving its unique look. It may or may not have pistils depending on the species of plant.

Several species of this plant flowers are single colored. These flowers are shaded or streaked with some contrasting colors which make it look beautiful.

Where to Grow Blue Star Creeper

You may grow blue star creeper at the edges of pathways or in the container from where it branches and leaves can spill gracefully. If you take good care of it, then it can last up to five years.

Due to its versatile and smooth looks, it is excellent to grow between stepping stones, rock walls or to form a flat ground cover. The blue star creeper growth rate is medium.

How to Plant Blue Star Creeper

Growing Zone

The growing zone for Isotoma Fluviatillis is Zone 6 and is perennial. The growing zone for Isotoma Axillaris is Zone 11 which makes it hardy plant and it survive in harsh winter condition.

Sun and Soil Requirement

Blue star creeper needs light shade to full sun to grow. It works best in the warm climate and blooms during the summer time. In cold weather, it gets brown and shed its leaves resulting in a bare skeleton of blue star creeper left. If it gets too hot, then it gets dry and falls.

However, it is resilient and robust plant and can survive up to -20 Celsius with snow cover. It does not need any particular soil and does well almost in any soil. The ground should have a pH level between mildly acidic to alkaline (pH between 6.1 through 7.8).

Seed Germination and Transplanting

There are two ways you can plant the blue star creeper. You can either split the root and plant it or use the seed. If you decide to plant it by dividing the root ball, then break the root ball by hand or by shear. You can either put it in the ground or in the planter.

If you are planting from blue star creeper seed, then put soil in the planter and moisten the soil. Insert the seed 2 or 3 inches in the ground and keep it in partial sunlight for 7 to 15 days. After a while, the germination will start, and when you see six or seven leaves, it is ready to be planted in the ground.

You can harvest blue star creeper seeds when the flower gets dry and turn into a small seed pouch. The seed pouch will have many seeds in it which you can store for future or plant it somewhere else.

Scatter seed in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. In cold weather, plant it indoor six weeks before frost.

Planting Blue Star Creeper Outside

If you are planting it outside for the first time, be careful and protect it from pests and rodents as it has a very fragile stem. Once the root has taken a good hold in the ground, then you do not need to do much care.

If for some reason you have to repot the blue star creeper then grow it in a planter and repot when it reached about 1 inch in size.

How to Care for Blue Star Creeper

Watering

Blue star creeper does not need much water. You can water it when the soil gets dry but do not over water it. When planting it for the first time either through root or seed, water it regularly so it can hold its root.

Blue star creeper does not need much water, so avoid planting it in lower spots where there is a chance for water to collect.

Fertilizing

Blue star creeper does not need any fertilization. But for optimal growth, you can fertilize it a little. Be careful that as it grows fast and have invasive tendencies so don’t overfeed.

Pruning

Blue star creeper does not need pruning. Which is good as you do not need to deadhead to encourage flower production. You can prune it one inch in height though, to bring uniformity to the growth.

Let’s find out some common Blue Star Creeper disease and how to prevent it.

Blue Star Creeper Problem and Solutions

Soil Fungal Disease

Blue star creeper has shallow roots, and overwatering causes the soil to be excessively wet. It may cause fungal disease such as Southern Blight.

Southern Blight is a soil borne fungal pathogen (Sclerotium Rolfsii). It spreads in hot weather and likes acidic soil. The progression of fungus is fast and once it get hold in the ground, it attacks the stem at the soil line and creates a dark-colored lesion.

If blue star creeper gets infected by a soil fungus, then use soil fungicide. Some of the popular fungicides are:

  • Heritage (Azoxystrobin)
  • Daconil (Chloroneb)
  • Prostar (Flutianil)
  • Scotts Proturf Fungicide 7 (Tridimefon)

Is Blue Star Creeper Invasive?

Due to its high growth rate and robustness to survive in harsh weather condition, the blue star creeper has invasive tendencies. If you try to uproot, the roots are likely to break, and some of it will remain left in the soil which will regrow.

Another thing which makes it hard altogether to remove from the ground is its tiny size. It grows close to the ground and have small leaves; it makes it hard to get a proper grip on the plant to pull.

It is also deer and rabbit resistant. It means it will survive from animals who feed on leaves. To prevent it invading other plants, you can keep it as a container plant and carefully control its seeds to avoid self-seeding.

Be careful when you are thinking to plant it in your garden, as once it gets hold on its root, it is difficult to get rid of it. If you attempt to dig it out, its small roots tear apart, and it stimulates the root to become stronger.

Does Blue Star creeper prevent weeds?

Blue star creeper is not very thick or tall to shade out other weeds like clove. So it does not do a good job blocking weeds. The weeds will happily grow under it so don’t plant it if your primary goal is to kill the weeds.

It is also unaffected by insects or pest and usually does not have any severe disease which makes it grow without much hassle.

Companion Plant for Blue Star Creeper

Blue star creeper plays nicely with a variety of plants. It is fantastic looking flowering ground cover to plant among Hardy Ferns, Hostas, Hydrangeas, and Knock Out Roses.

Here are the best companion plant options:

  • Phlox, Creeping – Pair Creeping Phlox and Blue Star Creeper in a rock garden or along a pathway edge
  • Hydrangea -Use Blue Star Creeper as a ground cover around the base of Hydrangea
  • Candytuft – Low-growing Candytuft and Blue Star Creeper give a mixed blue and white color

Where to use Blue Star Creeper

You can use the blue star creeper at various places. Many people plant it in the garden as it does very well as ground cover in a rock garden, and high setting. It is perfect for garden pathways and rock walls.

Although it does not need much care if the weather becomes too harsh, then it grows thin and looks patchy. You have to be careful before you plant it as it is tough to get rid of it, but it is not classified as an invasive plant.

It requires partial sunlight, so it is perfect for planting above bulbs or under deciduous trees. For the best use, I recommend it to plant for beds, borders, hanging baskets, landscaping, and around mailboxes. Be aware of where you plant it as it is toxic to human and pets if ingested.

Blue Star Creeper, is easy to grow a ground cover plant. It is also known as Isotoma Fluviatillis and is perfect as a lawn substitute. You can plant it between stones, patios, and decks.