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PlantFiles: Blue Star Creeper, Swamp Isotome, Matted Pratia
Pratia pedunculata

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Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pratia (PRAT-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: pedunculata (ped-un-kew-LAH-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Isotoma fluviatilis
Synonym:Laurentia fluviatilis
Synonym:Lobelia fluviatilis
Synonym:Pratia puberula

10 vendors have this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Alpines and Rock Gardens
Groundcovers
Perennials

Height:
under 6 in. (15 cm)

Spacing:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Danger:
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Light Blue
Medium Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter
Blooms repeatedly

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen
Smooth-Textured

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 29 photos.
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Profile:

10 positives
9 neutrals
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral jhainaut On Jun 6, 2014, jhainaut from Des Moines, IA wrote:

I bought a small pot at Home Depot because it was so pretty. But groundcovers can be invasive so I decided to check it out before planting. I'm so glad I did and will be tossing it in the trash. I've had terrible experiences in other gardens with accidentally planting invasive plants (like canada anemone) and am really trying not to do that in my new location.

Neutral Charoozie On Apr 19, 2014, Charoozie from North Richland Hills, TX wrote:

Has anyone grown this plant in the Dallas, Texas area?
I have a shady yard with pin oaks, but trimmed the trees this year to allow more light into the yard. I want to try this as a lawn substitute in the back yard. One thing that concerns me is the description that it is poisonous, and to avoid handling it. Would a person be able to sit on this? Has anyone had the experience of dogs or cats eating it and then becoming sick?

Negative Bendywva On Nov 21, 2013, Bendywva from Brooksburg, IN wrote:

I saw this cute little plant at a local home improvement store and bought it thinking it would be pretty in my flower bed and help deter the weeds.
It is thriving in my garden. I had put some concrete blocks at either side of it to protect it from the dogs.
I noticed that it was growing under the blocks and shooting out the other side so I decided to Google it and see what other gardeners were saying. Apparently it is invasive.
It is growing too well and I am going to remove it today while it is still a relatively small patch.
I need a native ground cover. I am over the exotics. I dont know what I was thinking when I bought this plant. Apparently, I wasnt.

Neutral sherif01 On Oct 18, 2013, sherif01 from Henderson, NV wrote:

I am redoing a portion of my back yard right off the patio. It partial sun and shade under a tree. It will be a little cooler there than the open yard. I live in Henderson Nevada where the summer (July and August ) temp will be over 100 degrees every day for both months getting up to 110-115 some days.

Will the Blue Star Creeper do well in that environment?

Thanks,

Bill

Neutral Bikebiddy On Sep 19, 2013, Bikebiddy from Tauranga
New Zealand wrote:

My pratia was doing really well with lovely flowers all last summer. In winter it died back a lot. Initially I blamed this on frost but now I am wondering if it is a nutrient missing or the dreaded fungal infection. Our soil is high in clay and I have had trouble with root rot in other plants. The pratia is spreading rapidly through the bark mulch but really looking yellow and thin where it originally thrived. I will give it some lime and feed it and watch to see if it improves as we head into summer.

Neutral FranMcP On Jul 3, 2013, FranMcP from Groveton, VA wrote:

I originally plants the Blue Star Creeper in May 2011. The soil isn't great and it took a long time to take hold. The problem I have is weeds. Does anyone have a suggestion about how to deal with the weeds that have taken over the creeper?

Negative Gudehus On Jun 19, 2011, Gudehus from Eugene, OR wrote:

My wife bought several containers of this plant and I helped plant it in our planting beds. Oh am I sorry! After getting established, it begins to spread underground and pops up in various spots beyond where it was planted. It will invade neighboring plants and smother them. It will invade your lawn too. In that case you will need to dig out the sod and start that section of your lawn over. If it invades your neighbor's lawn you could be in trouble. You might try planting it in a deep pot that is sunk in the ground, but I haven't tried that yet (too busy controlling this invasive beast).

Negative sunnyg On May 5, 2011, sunnyg from San Francisco Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Oh, how I wish I'd never planted this cute little thug. I've been trying to eradicate it from my small garden for several years, and I have a feeling my battle will continue for quite some time. It spreads very quickly, and is nearly impossible to completely remove from an area due to all the tiny roots spread out everywhere. It not only thrives in my amended soil, it has also happily taken over the unamended heavy clay soil.

Positive aksmith On Jul 10, 2010, aksmith from Hayward, CA wrote:

Planted this in full sun back in April. For about 2 months it didn't appear to grow at all. Then in mid June it started to get bushy (for its size) and now all of a sudden is sending out a bunch of creepers (both above and below the soil).

Also, it appears to be very sensitive when first transplanted, as some of the clumps died off completely (and rapidly) while others thrived under the same conditions.

Neutral PurKat On Apr 20, 2010, PurKat from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I live in Oklahoma, and my backyard is 90 percent variegated shade, with no grass, however one third is covered in English Ivy. I have many Hosta Plants in my flowerbeds and in large pots under my two shade trees. Depending on the time of day, I might get a few hours of hot sun, on any part of my backyard, and the rest of the time, it is shaded by my trees. I do not want to put in shade grass, so I was looking for a low, 2 to 3 inch, ground coverage. I found this Blue Star Creeper at Lowes Garden Center yesterday, so today I planted six of the four inch pots, to begin lining my decor brick pathway, from my patio to my Hosta Garden, in-between the two huge trees. I sure hope it takes off, like a few have complained about. On the plastic plant identifier insert, is calls this Blue Star Creeper by the name of Isotoma Fluviatus. This may need to be added to the Synonym Names.

Negative blumz On Sep 11, 2008, blumz from Trussville, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I moved into my brand new home this past fall and was anxious to establish my new gardens. I brought many perennials from my previous home. This past spring I purchased an entire flat of BSC and planted it in several different places. Have sung it's praises all summer, as it has bloomed for me practically the whole time. HOWEVER, I'm no longer singing it's praises. It is a THUG in my garden and is now threatening our expensive Zoysia Z52 lawn. Because it has surrounded all of my lovely perennials in two different beds - hosta, hydrangeas, salvias, daylilies, veronica ... I can't spray it and even if I lift all of the valued plants and wash off the soil before replanting, I'm afraid it won't help. I had planted 2 or 3 little plugs of it in one area in the spring and decided to move them a couple weeks later. Not only is it rambling in the place were I moved it, it has also come back in the place where I originally had it, and I thought I had cleared out all of the tiny rootlets, etc. I have begun digging it out of the most threatened areas and have found the roots to be spreading happily deep underground.

I've been gardening 25 years and am disappointed that I didn't check out this beautiful plant a little further before planting it. You'd think I would have learned by now!

Positive gardennut10 On Sep 8, 2008, gardennut10 from Bellevue, WA wrote:

I have had this plant for about 4 years. It took a few years to fill in among my perennials. It is very pretty when it blooms, and between bloom times it forms a good mat that keeps most, but not all weeds out.

I have just found out that this year, it has become down right invasive! I use several ground covers in my flower beds, and the blue star creeper does not only invade all the perennials, it also overtakes Irish Moss and Red Thyme, which I am not appreciating. Now I am pulling it out in a wide margin from around all other plants. I also use lots of containers for my plants, and it has gotten into those too. It has coexisted with violets in a 12" bowl, and with unicorn rush in a large terracotta pot without doing any harm as far as I can tell, and does look nice that way.

Neutral Michelle_Ta On Jun 21, 2007, Michelle_Ta from Portland, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

I am having trouble getting this plant to grow in a well established and well drained area. The area gets afternoon sun and partial shade but the plants have not grown much since I planted them several weeks ago. Does anyone have any suggestions? Do I need to move them to an area with more sun? Please respond to takahashi.walton@comcast.net with any ideas. I am very sad :( I really want this to grow. A yard that I care for is full of this and it is extremely beautiful.

Neutral Gabrielle On Feb 10, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Small oval green leaves become covered with star-shaped, light blue flowers. Fast grower. Can withstand heavy traffic. 2-3" tall.

Positive Kiweed On Jan 30, 2006, Kiweed from Saratoga Springs, UT (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my favorite plants; Did well in clay alkaline soil known to Utah on the north-west side of the house (comparable to "light shade", as sun is intense here).
Has anyone else noticed that once it establishes itself it looks like a completely DIFFERENT plant? The flowers change from star to upward facing bell shape, with a different number of petals (I'm not an expert at recognizing "true" petals, so I might be wrong), are a more intense color (**stunning deeply saturated blue**) , and the foliage looks more coarse. The young plant is more delicate looking, the older plant more showy. At first I didn't believe it was the same plant, but I have observed this phenomenon repeatedly. Along the edges of a mature clump you will get new starts that look like the young plants. The mature plant is completely covered (no foilage showing) when in bloom. (STUNNING!) The pictures posted here are all of the young plant, which is pretty, but not stunning like the mature plant.
I just noticed that it is in the Campanulaceae family. I have thought before that the flowers on the older plant resemble "Blue Chips" campanula.

You're probablly skeptical; I was too and have been watching this plant carefully to figure out this unusual behavior. My mother-in-law has had the same experience with the plant and when we questioned the owner of the nursery from which we bought it (Cook's) she said it is one of her favorite plants and she is quite familiar with its change in appearance. Both my mother in law and I are in new houses now, and planted starts last fall. Right now they look identical to the pictures posted here. If these also undergo the change I will provide pictures.
I am very curious and hope someone with more scientific knowledge of plants might help shed light on this phenomenon.

Neutral docturf On Sep 19, 2005, docturf from Conway, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

As a retired plant pathologist/horticulturist, I noted with interest that several persons had commented that Blue Star Creeper was subject to a particular disease problem. Unless I miss my guess, this could be Southern Blight, a soil-borne fungal pathogen (Sclerotrium rolfsii). It is favored by hot, wet weather and acidic soils. It develops rapidly, usually attacking the stem at the soil lineand creating a dark-colored lesion at that point. As it develops, a whitish web of mycelia forms around the stem and nearby soil. Finally, small, white or gray resting bodies (sclerotia) are formed and these turn brown and resemble mustard seeds. A degree of control may be had by applying certain soil fungicides. These include: Heritage (azoxystrobin); Daconil (chloroneb); Prostar (flutanil); or Scotts Proturf Fungicide 7 (tridimefon). If you don't (or won't) use fungicides, try to avoid hot, wet sites and add/or a little lime to raise the soil pH. GOOD LUCK!! docturf

Positive LinnieBeth On Sep 18, 2005, LinnieBeth from Conyers, GA wrote:

After a year of minimal growth- it began to spread and WOW it has really taken off. I have it on a slope that is partly to mainly shady. It's blooms are 'cute" and I find that it makes plenty to enjoy in partly shade.

This years I have just snatched portions of it and transplanted them to other areas by making a little muddy area and pressing the pieces into it. The new sections are doing very well.

I read comments that said it might succomb to a wilting soil borne disease- I have not had a problem with this in my Blue Creeper, but did have a bout of it in my Ajuca- I drenched the soil with a copper solution, what few plants remained have made quite a comeback.

Conyers, GA 30094

Positive ACHunter47 On Dec 31, 2004, ACHunter47 from Elmore, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought a small 2 inch container of this two years ago. I split it up into four pieces and planted in an area that is 3 x 12 foot, in which I have planted about 50 field lilies. It has almost covered the whole area and is even growing into the grass. Since the area doesn't get too much sun, it doesn't seem to bloom a lot but it still blooms and is a very good groundcover. When the lilies come up in the early summer, the blue star is growing underneath them. Beautiful!

Positive hanna1 On Nov 5, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Star shaped flowers. Quite hardy in zone 9

Positive RDT On Oct 10, 2004, RDT from Crossville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have planted this creeper in all locations. Thrives best in full sun. In full shade it seldom blooms. The only problem was after I watered it in the shady area during the summer. It sat in the water for too long. It developed white cottony mass in the roots. I too used fungicide to no avail. It kept spreading. I pulled it up and although I thought I lost it it has come back to cover the area completely. I have noticed that it is going into the grass nonstop with its blooms aglowing. I love it. It is mid October and it is still blooming.

Positive pokerboy On Sep 11, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

A hardy groundcover from Australia. This plant produces blue star shaped flowers from early spring through to mid autumn. Likes a cool climate in damp, poorly drained soils. Likes full sun but protection from the hot midday sun. Water well during dry, hot weather. Good lawn substitute. Great for filling between pavers, rocks and driveways. pokerboy.

Positive CherylBerry On Jul 15, 2004, CherylBerry from Marietta, GA wrote:

I've used blue star creeper in the Atlanta GA area for years with great success as a filler between a rock pathway. This year (2004), we are experiencing some type of disease or 'melting' problem. The plant can be flourishing and then suddenly show signs of die out. This began about May and has continued through July.

What ever this is has not caused total loss of the plant, as it is appears here and there. I do remove the dead/diseased areas but it has continued to spread. I have also tried treating with a mild fungicide to no avail. I too would like to information on what might cause this.

Positive BKWULF On May 18, 2004, BKWULF from Charlotte, NC wrote:

I have used Blue Star Creeper or Laurentia Fluviatilis with great success for several years. Recently I was told it was susceptible to a soil-born disease that causes it to die off shortly after spring emergence. I have searched for information about this possible disease but can find nothing, has anyone else encountered this? With one exception, every place and every time I have used this plant it has flourished and performed beautifully. I have found that it blooms better and longer in full sun, although grows prolifically in mild shade but with fewer blooms. Am interested in talking to anyone about this plant.

Negative PV_Gardner On May 10, 2004, PV_Gardner from Prescott Valley, AZ wrote:

Don't buy it at Home Depot (or anything else, for that matter). It was full of weeds and Dichondria, which eventually took over and killed the Creeper.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Birmingham, Alabama
Elmore, Alabama
Trussville, Alabama
Castro Valley, California
Cool, California
Hayward, California
Merced, California
Salinas, California
San Jose, California
Stockton, California
Sunnyvale, California
Tustin, California
Clifton, Colorado
Deland, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Conyers, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia
Kennesaw, Georgia
Montezuma, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Madison, Indiana
Louisville, Kentucky
Reno, Nevada
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Coshocton, Ohio
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Ashland, Oregon
Coburg, Oregon
Durham, Oregon
South Beach, Oregon
Walterville, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Crossville, Tennessee
Orem, Utah
Newport News, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Cathan, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Orchards, Washington
Puyallup, Washington



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