Each year in March, Longwood Gardens announces a special display in their conservatory that features the elusive Himalayan blue-poppies (Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’). Visitors like me flock to see these rare blue flowers. Because blue is my favorite color, I constantly search for flowers that add a touch of blue to the garden. This quest is no small task because blue is the rarest flower color, seen in only 10 percent of flowering plants. Today, I’m happy to share some of my favorite blue spring flowers that will add some pizazz to your landscape.
Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells) flower buds open to reveal blue bell-shaped flowers in mid-spring. Virginia bluebells naturalize readily in a woodland setting if allowed to go to seed. Be prepared to tolerate the yellowing foliage of this plant as it goes dormant. Placing it among emerging perennials is a great strategy for keeping a tidier look during its decline. This US native is an early nectar source for pollinators and is beautiful combined with daffodils or Celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum).
Scilla siberica (Siberian Squill) is an early spring bloomer that expands into a sea of blue. I planted mine in a bed of Astilbe where the emerging leaves of Astilbe quickly cover the decaying foliage of Scilla as it goes dormant. Like Scilla, Chionodoxa luciliae (Glory Of The Snow) blooms early in the season and performs best planted in large drifts. Both Scilla and Chionodoxa will add a great pop of blue – why decide between the two. Plant them both!
Muscari armeniacum (Grape Hyacinth) will naturalize quickly when left undisturbed so place these plants where they can do their thing. Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish Bluebells) are tough plants can tolerate lots of soil and light conditions and they stay in bloom for weeks in late spring. Both are wonderful plants to share since they multiply rapidly.
Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas Blue Star) has feathery foliage topped with pale blue flowers in late spring. This native plant is popular not only for blue flowers, but also for great fall color and deer resistance. A winner all around.
While at a client’s house recently, I noticed her gorgeous Delphinium. The electric blue really popped against the color of her house. I might have to add this blue to my spring garden for next year since its color is so bold and impactful.
Corydalis flexuosa performs best in the Pacific Northwest and dislikes the hot and humid summer conditions often experienced in the Philadelphia suburbs where I live. Despite the poor prognosis for its survival, I had to have it, if only for a fleeting flower display.
Veronica is the last plant I’ll mention for adding some blue to your spring flower display. The cultivar ‘Georgia Blue’ makes a wonderful carpet under shrubs or at the front of the border. The flowers are an intense violet blue. Veronica peduncularis ‘Waterperry Blue’ has a similar habit, but a more muted violet blue flower.
I hope you’ll consider joining me in the blues festival. Let me know what plants you decide to add to your garden or share some of your favorites with me.