Imagine creating a beautiful stone pathway, with a soft-textured green leaves and blue flowers growing in between the stones!
Tolerant of heavy foot traffic, Pratia is a great choice for pathways and between stepping stones. The seed pods of Pratia attract birds and plants make a good lawn substitute.
For those looking to add texture and color to rocky areas, Pratia also makes a good choice for growing over walls, in rock gardens, and in mixed containers. It makes an excellent living mulch; the dense soil cover it provides keeps out weeds. It’s also a good plant for erosion control. Pratia blooms repeatedly through the growing season and given the mild winters in Portland, it is also evergreen.
One caveat: Pratia suffers in compacted soil, so amend compacted or clay soils appropriately before installing a pathway. Pratia also provides another option for perennially sought after blue flowers in the garden.
Family: Campanulaceae (formerly Lobeliaceae)
Genus: Pratia (Syn. Laurentia, Isotoma)
Common Name: Star Creeper (Blue, White, Super, Dark Blue)
Origin: New Zealand and Australia
Culture: Keep curious children from eating it because all parts of the plant are poisonous. Pratia love moist, well drained soil. Plants will need water once every 7-14 days during the growing season. They will grow in sandy, silty, clay, or loamy soil. Pratia prefers full sun but will tolerate partial and light/open shade. An easy care and fast growing perennial, Pratia can spread up to 18” a year and get up to 4 inches tall. Both species are equally vigorous.
Maintenance: Apply fertilizer only when faster growth is desired.
For those trying to fill in large areas, Pratia may be propagated by division, seeds, or cuttings. Divide clumps in the spring or fall and replant immediately. Plant ripe seeds promptly in the fall. Seedlings need protection from frost for the first winter; plant in your garden after danger of frost has passed. To propagate by cuttings, in early summer, remove shoots with a generous amount of underground stem. Plant in individual pots and place in light shade until rooted. Plant in the garden the same summer or fall.
Pest and Disease: Pratia is rarely bothered by pests and diseases. However, if the soil is too wet, this shallow rooted perennial can develop fungal diseases like root rot. Avoid planting in depressions where water may collect, and consider adding pumice at planting time in areas that may become compacted.
Varieties you may find at Portland Nursery include:
Pratia angulata: White Star Creeper
Not technically Blue Star Creeper, this species has larger, ½ inch leaves and light blue or white flowers in summer. Leaves are dark green. Flowers are similar to those of lobelia, with two lobes in the upper lip and three lobes on the lower lip. Attractive, purple-red fruit adds another point of interest for this plant.
(Isotoma fluvialtilis, Laurentia fluviatilis)
Also known under the synonyms Isotoma fluviatilis and Laurentia fluviatilis, Pratia pedunculata, Blue Star Creeper- This plant has ¼ inch, bright green leaves that have a very small stem. Tiny, pale blue flowers bloom in late spring and summer.
P.p. ‘Alba:’ Super Star Creeper
Adorable tiny white star shaped flowers bloom atop 1-2” tall plants. Spreads 12-24” wide, thriving in full to part sun. Perfect for fairy gardens. Hardy to zones 6-9.
P.p. ‘County Park:’ Dark Blue Star Creeper
This variety can grow 1-5” tall and spread up to 18” a year. Stunning dark blue star shaped flowers heavily May thru June, with sporadic re-bloom in September. Hardy to zone 7.
P.p. ‘Little Star:’ Little Star Creeper
This low growing 1-2” tall creeper is covered with dozens of tiny true blue flowers May-June and sporadically in September. It thrives in full to part sun, average moisture and well drained soil. Hardy to zones 6-9.