Blue is the rarest color in the plant world. Plants often referred to as blue are likely to be purple, violet, or lavender. So when you find a true blue (or close) plant or flower, it’s a good idea to add it to your garden. This article offers tips on where to place blue plants so they stand out.
Personally, I can never have enough blue in my garden. More than green, or even white, blue and all its versions — from near-turquoise to deep purple — has the power to soothe, cool, and play well with other colors. Blue takes on background duties as bright reds and yellows clamor for our eyes’ attention. But, in the right light and circumstances, blue can even be the main attraction.
The first blues in the garden
In early spring, blue is noticeably cheerful. It’s one of the only colors out there besides the browns of last year’s leaves. Even brightly-colored daffodils can’t steal the show from the likes of Anemone blanda, hyacinth, and Muscari.
After the bulbs come some of my favorite shade lovers, including Brunnera ‘Hadspen Cream’ or ‘King’s Ransom’, both with leaves generously blotched golden-cream, and pretty enough to hold its own without flowers. But then the blue flowers bloom on tall, wiry stems, creating a show that can’t be ignored. Brunnera prefer cool shade and can be cut back when the leaves begin to look tattered.
Brunnera King’s Ransom – photo by Jean Starr
Commonly known as lungwort, Pulmonaria is one of the easiest plants to grow in shade or partial sun. They’re so happy in my garden, they self-sow, giving me more than plenty to share or spread through difficult areas of the garden. Flowers emerge pink and mature to blue, so you’ll have plants with both colors right above the 10 – 12” plants’ green and silver mottled leaves.
Around the same time, a little cutie with a strange name sports the same color combo with blue flowers edged in creamy white. Navelwort (Omphalodes) ‘Starry Eyes’ blooms before the summer gets started, assuring this six-inch tall beauty gets the attention it’s due.