For as long as I’ve been gardening, I’ve heard many people say that there are no blue flowers. I am always surprised by the comment.
Like a lot of gardeners, I love the color blue in the garden. And in my mind, there are many, many blue flowers. The issue surely must be the wide range of colors that are considered blue.
In the interest of keeping us up to date with color, here are four of my favorite blue flowers. All of these are easy to grow.
The blues matter this year for fashion forward gardeners. The Color Institute and Pantone have declared 2020 the year of Classic Blue, a shade said to be reminiscent of the sky at dusk. “It’s a color that anticipates what’s going to happen next,” said Laurie Pressman, the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.
Virginia bluebells for spring
I call this lovely native perennial a magic plant. In early spring, rounded, purple-cast leaves emerge from the soil. They grow into large medium green leaves, followed by stalks of bluebells.
Virginia bluebell flowers (Mertensia virginiana) last a few weeks, depending on how hot it is. Then, the plant completely disappears. With this spring ephemeral, there’s no clean up, cutting back, nothing.
Sometimes, these plants can be found in garden center in spring. Or order them from a bulb merchant.
‘Caesar’s Brother’ Siberian iris for early summer
These flowers are deep blue, probably close to purple, in some people’s minds. These slightly fragrant flowers are beautiful and more delicate than the bearded or German iris.
The perennial Siberian iris (I. sibirica) blooms in late spring to early summer. As an added benefit, it does well in part shade and although drought tolerant, prefers soil a bit on the moist side. In fall, the narrow leaves turn red, adding unexpected seasonal beauty.
‘Victoria Blue’ salvia for summer into fall
Although I’ve named the annual ‘Victoria Blue’ salvia (S. farinacea) here, there are many similar salvias to consider. Newer introductions have fatter flowers and are as reliable as this garden standard. There also are ‘Black and Blue’ salvia among many others.
‘Victoria Blue’ salvia is very cold tolerant, thriving well into fall and early winter. I’ve had one come back after winter, but I wouldn’t want to plan my whole color scheme on that.
This is pretty much a no-fail plant and a terrific cut flower. Butterflies, bees, hummers and other wildlife like salvia, which does just fine in summer sun and heat.
‘Raydon’s Favorite’ aster for fall
In the blue range, ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ is at the lighter end. A strong-blooming perennial, pair this native aster (A. oblongifolius) in a sunny spot with other late fall colors, such as the golden leaves of native Amsonia hubrichtii or purple foliage viburnum.
Like other asters, ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ benefits from a couple of hair cuts in summer. Cut back by about half in May or June, and then again by the mid-July. This reins in the size and boosts the flower power. Aster also can be cut for indoor beauty. Monarchs, bees and other wildlife take advantage of asters in the late-season garden.