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Regional Picks: Overlooked Plants – Northwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 144



Willow gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9

Size: 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Conditions: Bright shade; moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil

The gentian family has a bad reputation for seducing gardeners with spectacular blue flowers and then dying off within the year. Don’t miss the exception: willow gentian. It’s as dependable as it is beautiful and easy to grow. The light green leaves on 15-inch-long stems arc downward, like a long feather. From August until frost, it will delight you with its fabulous blue flowers. It’s perfect cascading over a rock wall with Himalayan maidenhair fern (Adiantum venustum, Zones 5–8) as its foil.


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