Friday, July 1, 2011

Blue Native Wildflowers for Your Garden

There are many times that a gardener or landscaper has a specific color theme in mind for their gardens. These native wildflowers are all in various shades of blue and are good starters to a native plant garden or a wildflower garden. Always check to make sure they are suited to your particular hardiness range and soil type.

Amsonia ciliata Walt. (Blue Funnel Lily, Bluestar, Fringed Bluestar)
The blue funnel lily is a member of the dogbane family and grows 15 to 24 inches high. Half-inch leaves run along the entire flower stem to the star-like 5-petaled pale blue flower. Leaves are smooth and smaller toward the flower part of the stem. Flowers occur from March through June. The blue funnel lily prefers partial shade and a dry well-drained soil. Propagate by root division or seed. If by seed, germination will improve after cold moist stratification. It was named for Dr. Charles Amson, a scientific traveler and physician from the 18th century.

Campanulastrum americanum (L.) Small (American Bellflower, Tall Bellflower)
The American bellflower grows three to four feet high with lavender-blue 5-petaled flowers blooming June through August. It does attract hummingbirds to the landscape. This bellflower prefers partial shade and moist neutral soil. Propagate by seeds. This was once Campanula americana but because of the flower’s unique structure was reassigned to its own genus and became Campanulastrum americanum. It attracts bumblebees, leaf-cutting bees, butterflies and Syrphid flies.

Gentiana saponaria L. (Soapwort Gentian, Harvestbells, Gentiana saponaria var, saponaria, Dasystephana saponaria)
Soapwort gentian grows eight to 20 inches tall. It is a perennial with light green lance-like leaves and bottle-like blue-violet flowers in a terminal or cluster. The flowers only open partially. Blooms arrive August through October. It prefers partial shade and acidic fertile soil. Propagate by division or seed. Divide the root crown in fall or early spring or sow seed as soon as they are mature.

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