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Anise hyssop has subtle but eye-catching chartreuse foliage. Its powder-blue, long-lasting flowers contrast nicely with its leaves.
This plant produces dense clusters of bright blue flowerheads up to 1 inch wide. Its leaves clasp its stem and die back before flowering.
This plant flowers profusely and for an exceptionally long time, from early summer to mid-fall. Its flowers are violet-blue.
This clumping, bushy perennial has slender stems and small, lance-shaped, medium green leaves. From late summer to late fall, it produces white flowerheads with yellow centers to a half-inch across. Its cultivars may bear flowers tinged pink or blue.
Butterfly bushes are carefree deciduous shrubs that are reliably fragrant and easy to grow. Butterflies swarm to their blooms all summer long. 'Lochinch' has extremely fragrant lilac-blue flowers with orange eyes. It is a cross between B. davidii and B. fallowiana. Its arching, mounded habit typically reaches 3 to 5 feet in one season, but can grow much taller in the deep South. The 8- to 12-inch-long flower spikes begin in late summer and bloom until frost, starting a little later than the B. davidii cultivars.
Butterfly bushes are carefree deciduous shrubs that are reliably fragrant and easy to grow. Butterflies swarm to their blooms all summer long. 'Black Knight' has deep purple-blue, almost black, flowers in elongated clusters on arching branches to 10 feet tall if not cut back, and half that size if cut back. The blooms come from early summer to first frost. The foliage is willow-like and grayish green.
'Longwood Blue' is ideal for a mixed or shrub border. It's an attractive woody shrub up to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide with silvery leaves and violet-blue flowers.. The flowers appear along the stems in late summer and early autumn.This plant is relatively drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. The shrub expands as branches that touch the ground form their own roots and may self-seed.
'Jason' has bright yellow-green foliage with rich amethyst blue flowers in late summer and fall. It's a vigorous grower for a mixed border or mass planting in sunny areas.
This lovely herbaceous species is versatile and undemanding. It is the star of the late-summer garden with its spiky bright red flower buds and vivid blue flowers, displaying long-lasting mahogany red foliage in fall. Spreading slowly via underground runners, this long-lived plant makes a solid mat with erect, slender red stems and bright green leaves.
Regarded by some as the bluest blue fescue, this plant forms compact, cascading mounds of foot-tall, intensely blue, narrow leaves that are attractive in all seasons. Blooms are generally secondary to the foliage, but this cultivar blooms more heavily than most, with spikelets in summer. This cultivar is long-lived and very hardy. Grow in groups in a border or rock garden, or as a groundcover.
These compact tufts of 8-inch-long powder-blue leaves are well suited for edging and naturalizing in the rock garden.
Deeply cut plum-purple leaves emerge in spring and stay true to color throughout the season. Lavender-blue flowers bloom beginning in late spring. 'Midnight Reiter' grows to only about 6 or 8 inches tall and twice as wide. More shade causes the foliage to be greener.
This mound of lavender-blue flowers and aromatic, grayish green leaves up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide is great as edging or in a border, herb, or rock garden. It is an easy to grow, prolific bloomer that seems to be deer resistant. It blooms the whole summer and tolerates some shade. It also looks great with roses or on walls.
This cultivar is a clump-forming perennial with toothed gray-green leaves and larger flowers than the hybrid. It flowers profusely and long, especially if sheared. The blue-purple flowers are small but abundant, and the foliage is aromatic.
This plant produces 3- to 4-inch-diameter, slightly scented flowers sporadically during summer, increasing in late summer through autumn. Intricate blossoms have an outer ruffle of petals and sepals; an inner disc of filaments composed of rings of blue, white and purple; and a central “antenna.” Deeply lobed dark green leaves cover stems that grasp supports with tendrils. Blue passion flower can reach 10 feet tall in one season. The ovoid, orange-yellow fruit is edible.
This moisture-loving perennial produces clear blue flowers with white highlights in late summer to mid-autumn. It forms an airy clump to 6 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and is great for the back of a border. It is tolerant of heavy soils.
A hardworking, compact perennial, ‘Etain’ violet forms well-behaved clumps and blooms from time to time from spring through fall. The attractive, fleshy, bright green foliage needs protection from slugs. -Sylvia Matlock, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue #127
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Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
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Perfect drainage makes this recipe succeed
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Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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by Patrick Anderson
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by Nancy Matthews
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