All About Growing Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis)

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Durable or delightful, why not have both? Cover your landscape in a blanket of blue flowers with blue star creeper.

Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) is a ground cover native to Australia and New Zealand that has gained popularity worldwide for several reasons. This ground cover is low maintenance, can tolerate heavy foot traffic, and adds color and charm to nearly any outdoor space, from full sun to part shade. With its dense mat of small, star-shaped, light-blue flowers and vibrant green foliage, blue star creeper has become a popular landscaping plant for gardeners of any skill level.

Here, we’ll show you how to grow blue star creeper, how to use blue star creeper, and answer frequently asked questions.

Blue Star Creeper in full bloom surrounding ornametal grasses

How to grow:

Soil:

Blue star creeper can thrive in nearly any soil site, even sandy, gravelly soil. However, this superstar ground cover prefers moist, well-draining soil. It can suffer in soils that are compact, especially if they are saturated with water for prolonged periods.

Light:

The best place to plant blue star creeper would be an area with full sun (6+ hours direct sunlight each day) to part shade (4-6 hours direct sunlight). This ground cover does benefit from some afternoon shade in warmer growing zones.

Water:

Blue star creeper requires regular watering until established. Although the plant is drought tolerant, it benefits from extra moisture in full sunlight or hot, dry weather.

Fertilizing:

Applying any general-purpose garden fertilizer before new growth emerges in the spring will keep blue star creeper well-nourished throughout the growing season.

Winterizing:

No special care is needed. This plant is truly resilient even in the harshest winters!

Maintenance & Pruning:

Shearing the plant down to about an inch in autumn helps keep the plant tidy during winter.

What are some of the benefits of growing blue star creeper?

Close up of Blue Star Creeper with light blue flowers and vibrant green foliage

Fast-spreading, weed smothering

Don’t want to spend time waiting for beautiful blooms from your plants? That’s no problem with blue star creeper! This fast-growing ground cover can spread up to 18 inches within a year. The best part? It chokes out pesky weeds in the process. 

If it isn’t monitored, this ground cover can spread far beyond the area where it’s initially planted. Keep in a contained area, at least a foot away from where you wouldn’t want it to spread, and your garden areas should stay separate. Discover more ground covers that suppress weeds HERE.

foamy bells with isotoma

The ultimate companion plant

Blue star creeper is an excellent companion plant in perennial gardens because it can thrive in different soil and light conditions. Adding blue star creeper to the base of nearly any tree or shrub makes it easy to add a pop of color beneath the foliage.

Add contrast and texture to your landscape by planting blue star creeper with ‘Red Rover’ foamy bells! Both plants can thrive in part sun, and color persists from spring through fall. Learn more about this superstar garden combination HERE.

Blue Star Creeper used in between pavers

Loved by beginner & experienced gardeners

Blue star creeper is an incredibly resilient plant that can handle nearly anything thrown its way, making it excellent for beginner gardeners. It requires less water than other ground covers, practically no overwintering, and can thrive in nearly any level of sunlight.

Experienced gardeners also love it, especially for its versatility in the landscape. Easily tuck between stepping stones or under trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers as a lawn alternative. Create a blue star creeper maze or plant alongside hedges as a border!

Blue Star Creeper in full bloom used as a ground cover in flower bed

Resistant to deer & rabbits

While deer may tread through this highly durable ground cover, they won’t bother taking a bite. Even though blue star creeper features irresistible blue flowers, deer, and rabbits generally avoid eating it because it contains a slightly toxic sap. This sap can upset the digestion of herbivorous animals, so they generally steer clear. Deer damage no longer! 

The flowers attract a few bees and hoverflies in early spring before more appetizing pollinator plants bloom later in the season.

Growing blue star creeper in containers:

Growing blue star creeper in containers
Blue Star Creeper planted in a pot with rozanne cranesbill and big twister rush

Did you know blue star creeper also makes an excellent container plant? Yes! Its low mound habit and delicate blue flowers will quickly fill empty areas and cascade out near the edges of the pot, making it the perfect base for taller perennials inside the container. When planting your blue star creeper in a pot, consider the following:

  • Choose a wider pot; blue star creeper will spread throughout your container and need room to grow. 
  • Plant in a pot with well-drained soil and a drainage hole at the bottom to avoid waterlogging. 
  • Pair with plants with similar soil and light requirements to enjoy the beautiful arrangement for even longer. 

Frequently asked questions about blue star creeper:

Is blue star creeper invasive?

Blue star creeper isn’t native but also isn’t considered invasive by definition. Due to its fast-spreading nature, blue star creeper can pop up feet away from its original planting, potentially disrupting or choking out other perennials or grasses, which can be a problem for some gardeners. Areas in the United States along the West Coast and Florida experience rapid growth where the plant was naturalized, meaning it has spread to non-native environments. 

If they are not removed quickly from the areas where they newly sprout, blue star creeper can spread into unwanted areas and develop an intricate root system that is difficult to remove.

How quickly does blue star creeper spread?

Blue star creeper spreads fairly quickly, about 10-15 feet wide within the first 2-3 years. Because it can spread far and fast, plant blue star creeper about 10 inches apart to prevent overcrowding.

How do you overwinter blue star creeper?

Blue star creeper is cold tolerant, requiring no special winter protection. During the winter, the plant will go dormant but will break dormancy and experience new growth in the spring, all without overwintering!

Is blue star creeper poisonous?

Yes, all parts of blue star creeper are toxic if ingested. Children and pets should be monitored when frolicking on this durable ground cover to ensure they don’t eat it. Some gardeners with sensitive skin and seasonal allergies may also experience some irritation and are advised to wear gloves when handling. See a full list of plants toxic to animals on the ASPCA HERE.

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Written by: Lindsey Griffith, click here to read bio.

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