The Joy of Landscaping

A Gardening Blog

The Uncommon Blues: Blue Flowering Plants and How to Use Them

The joy of seeing a beautifully unique color in the garden.

Every year, more color options for flowering plants appear at the garden center or in the seed catalogs. But one color still remains unique in its scarcity - true blue. I’m not talking about the “blue” broadly listed as a bloom color by growers, which is often more lavender or red-purple. The blue I’m referring to shows itself infrequently; when it does, its uniqueness further enhances its beautiful hue.

One way to find truer shades of blue is to visit a nursery after the last frost and check out the annuals. Lobelia comes in a brilliant blue color rarely seen and can be the star of a container. The California native Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila) is sky blue. Pansies come in a pretty baby blue or darker blue colors, including two tone, for use in the spring or fall.

However, here’s some plants to get blue more “permanently” into your garden.

Amsonia 'Blue Ice'Amsonia hubrichtii

Amsonia “Blue Ice” and hubrichtii /Bluestar

Brunnera macrophyllaCentaurea montana

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' and Centaurea montana /Bachelor's Button

DelphiniumEryngium Big Blue

Delphinium /Larkspur (photo by Herry Lawford; Flicker) and Eryngium 'Big Blue'

Iris germanicaLinum perenne

Iris germanica /Bearded Iris and Linum perenne /Blue Flax

LithodoraMertensia virginica

Lithodora (photo by Paul Schultz, Flicker) and Mertensia virginica /Virginia Bluebells (photo by Jason Sturner, Flicker)


Myosotis sylvatica/Forget-me-knots (photo by Liz West, Flicker) and Scilla siberica/Siberian Squill

Veronica Georgia Blue

Veronica penduncularis/Veronica 'Georgia Blue'

Where to Use

The color blue shows best where not in direct sunlight. Shade brings out the beauty of the blue hue which can get washed out in bright sunshine. (Of course, some blue flowering plants like the sun so perhaps place them where at least part of the day they can stand out in the shadows).

Hydrangea with Daylilies

Pair them with white flowering plants in a partly shady location for a nice effect. For sun loving plants, place in or next to some splashes of a yellow or orange blooming plant, but keep the blue flowering plants in the majority or they will be lost in the dominance of the brighter color. If the blue is a lighter tint, pair it with a lemon or pale yellow, while a more saturated blue perennial or flowering shrub could be matched with a stronger shade of yellow or orange.

A nice pairing is blue Myosotis (forget-me-knots) with a yellow Hosta.

Another option is to place them in front of a dark background, such as in front of dark green evergreens. Blue flowers also look best with foliage that is more in the blue-green or gray-green spectrum. Avoid pairing with plants that have olive green foliage.