The Q&A Archives: Blue Flowering Perennials

Question: Virginia Beach has a weird growing climate: hot and cold winters, hot and muggy summers, short falls and springs, and plenty of drownpours with an occasional drought. In addition, hurricane season may cover this area with a salt spray.

What are some good blue-flowering (long-lived) perennials for an organic garden in this area? In particular, I'm looking for sky blue as opposed to lilac, blue-violet, and various other purplish "blues."

Answer: Unfortunately, there are very few true blues in the flower world, so many of them are as you have discovered, in the eye of the beholder. However, here are some with lighter blue flowers to consider that might thrive in your garden: caryopteris (blue-mist shrub), Russian sage (Perovskia) and salvia "Blue Hill" or "Blue Queen". Several forms of tradescantia have a softer blue tone as do one or two of the ajugas and adenophora; if you have a slightly shady location you might also consider the native plants, Virginia bluebells, Jacob's Ladder, and Aquilegia caerulea. Another softly blue flowered native worthy of consideration is Amsonia. Finally, both larkspur and blue flax or Linum are a lovely blue although you may have to grow them both as annuals.

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