Blue-tiful Flowers

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Blue is a very calming, peaceful and serene color. Blue is also considered a healing color. It helps lower blood pressure and can reduce rapid heart rate. It is not surprising that shades of blue and blue-green are frequently used in healthcare settings.

Many gardeners, including me, have a penchant for blue flowers. Blue is also one of the preferred colors of bees. There are very few "true blue" flowers. Below are some of my favorite perennials with "blue-tiful" blooms, all of which are deer resistant.

Delphinium

There are many different varieties in this genus, ranging from towering standouts like 'Cobalt Dreams' that can reach 6 feet, to dwarf varieties that grow between 10-14 inches. Taller Delphinium benefit from staking and all Delphinium will grow best in full to part sun and nutrient rich soil. Wet soil (especially in winter) is the death of them. The blooms will appear in late spring to summer. (Zone 3-7)

Gentian (Gentiana)

The Gentian family is quite large but almost every member has glorious blue flowers. Gentians bloom in summer or fall and range in light preference from sun to shade depending on the species. They typically grow 10-30 inches in height. (Zone 3-7)

Brunnera

These plants feature airy sprays of blue flowers that will cover the attractive heart-shaped leaves that can be green, silver or variegated. A three-season interest perennial for part shade to shade, it will grow 15-18 inches in height and bloom in spring. (Zone 3-8)

Iris

This large genus includes Siberian, German Bearded and Japanese Iris. Some of the flowers are a solid blue (or blue-purple) and others are bicolor. Siberian and German Bearded are very drought tolerant. Japanese Iris need a moisture retentive soil and will also thrive in wet areas. All do best in full sun. (Zone 3-9)

Bellflowers (Campanula)

This genus is rich in choices for blue (or blue-violet) beauties. Plants can be mounded ('Blue Clips'), narrow and upright (peach-leaved), or ground-hugging and cascading ('Blue Waterfall'). Deadheading will encourage months of blooms and the heights will range based on the species. Bellflowers bloom best in full to part sun. (Zones 3-8)

Globe Thistle (Echinops)

This hardy, drought tolerant perennial has impressive blue spiky orbs that are loved by pollinators. Don't cut the flowers back in fall - leave the seed heads for the birds to feast upon and for winter interest. The leaves have a silvery tint and can be prickly to the touch. Plant in full to part sun for best results. They will grow 3-4 feet in height and bloom in summer. (Zone 3-8)

Other perennial families that have "blue-tiful" relatives include False Indigo (Baptisia), Stokes Aster (Stokesia), Catmint (Nepeta), Blue Leadwort (Ceratostigma) and Veronica.

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more.

Kerry Ann Mendez