Moody Blues: Blue Flowers From Spring Into Autumn

By Veronica


Purple, blue and white flowers are amongst the most popular in the gardens at present.  While purple flowers are readily available in a wide range of shades from lilac, mauve, violet to deep purple, true blue flowers are, actually, quite rare. With only a few varieties flowering in blue, which is one more reason to make a bit of space for them in the garden. Furthermore, pollinators are particularly attracted to this colour so you will be doing your bit for the environment at the same time.


Here are some varieties to plant for blue flowers from Spring into the Autumn.


Spring flowers: A cool start of the gardening year

The first blue flower to point out will be the iris reticulata (although the ‘Blue Pearl’ crocus may flower first, as early as February). This tiny plant boasts of enchanting colours, an icy treat for pots in March. The iris reticulata is small, only 15cm high, so it looks beautiful on its own or with aconite to echo the yellow streak of its petals.

Photo of Iris by Flavia Bon

Plant the bulbs in late summer or early autumn to enjoy the flowers the following spring.

It will make space for the Muscari (grape hyacinth) and Forget-me-not in April and May. Like the Iris, the muscari is a bulb that you will plant in Autumn. It is incredibly easy to grow and floriferous, therefore, ideal for the beginner. You can create drifts of blue flowers in different shades or fill up pots and low planters for a cheerful entrance. They complement really well with daffodils of all shades. The Forget-me-not (Myosotis), on the other hand, is perfect for the front of the border, especially in shade (although it is very happy in a sunny spot too) making great displays in combination with plants with large leaves like hostas, adding texture and colour to the beds. It is easily grown from seeds, sown directly on-site in May or June, for a budget friendly option.

Muscari by Nine Koepfer

Forget-me-not by Kat Banachowicz

With similar flowers and a bit more height, the Brunnera is a delight. Not only will the blooms light up the shady corners with clouds of tiny blue blossoms, the heart-shaped leaves are spectacular with their silver tones. It prefers a moisture-retentive soil, plant it with specimens with similar needs like ferns and hostas.

Brunnera by Anya Chernik


Late Spring and Early summer, from the front of the border to the walls

For a beautiful mat of vivid blue flowers, try the lithodora. It prefers acid soil so make sure you dig in ericaceous compost when planting it in the garden. Alternatively, keep it in the pot where the right pH will be easier to achieve and maintain, especially if your soil is very alkaline. It requires a position in full sun to maximise the flowering.

Lithodora by Ghislain

Another plant tolerant of shadier conditions is the Omphalodes (Navelwort). The small sky-blue flowers open from pinkish-violet buds in May and June, over a lush low-mound of mid-green foliage. Chose the planting site with caution as they prefer not to be disturbed. They also self-seed readily which is an asset as they are difficult to source.

Omphalodes by Krzysztof Ziarnek

If you are on the look out for something unusual, you might want to try the Himalayan Blue Poppy. The Meconopsis does not qualify as an easy-to-grow plant, but its colour is exquisite! The delicate, sky blue flowers appear in June and July, a special treat in the woodland garden. It prefers a site in partial shade with rich and moist soil, preferably, slightly acidic. It is a short-lived perennial but well worth a try!

Meconopsis by Bernard Spragg

As for shrubs, the Ceanothus comes in a large range of shapes and sizes. Try ‘Repens’ as a ground cover, ‘Victoria’ for a dense shrub or ‘Trewithen Blue’ against a sunny wall. The Californian lilac is evergreen and offers a spectacular flowering season, covering itself with small panicles of blue-indigo flowers in May and June.


Ceanothus by Charlotte Harrison


Seas of blue in the height of the summer

From June onwards, herbaceous plants and annuals bring life and colour to the garden. The warmer temperatures and longer days help all plants to shine brighter and display their vibrant colours.

Starting with annuals, The love-in-a-mist is most often grown from seed thus making it a budget-friendly option. It grows quickly and easily. Simply sow the seeds directly where you want them to flower in Spring, cover them with a thin layer of soil. Once the plants start to form, thin the seedlings in order to keep only the stronger plants, 10 to 15 cm apart. No deadheading is required there after as the seed pods are very attractive too and the plants can self-seed that way. They grow to a height of 50cm on average, they are ideal for the front to the middle of the border.

Love-in-a-mist by Saira Ahmed

The Felicia (Kingfisher daisy) is of similar height and will charm you with its small, sky-blue, daisy-like flowers. It is often grown as an annual since it is tender in frost although it is, actually, a small sub-shrub. Perfect for the front of the border or pots as it flowers for months on end (June to October). It is also a good choice for rockeries as it is drought tolerant once established.

Felicia by Tsheda Muvhango

To add some height, the ever popular Delphinium (Larkspur) has no equal. Its tall spikes of flowers are particularly showy and make very good cut flowers as well. They need a bit of care and staking since they can reach towering heights but their generous flowers bring drama to your borders. Most of the varieties available are perennials, however, some new hybrids, such as the pacific hybrids are short-lived.

Delphiniums by Dana Marin

Next up is the Agapanthus. The African lily is a better choice for the coastal gardens as they can cope with the salty sea winds. There are evergreen and deciduous varieties, note, however, that the deciduous varieties are hardier and make a better choice for gardens prone to frost (where they will still need to receive winter protection). They are perfect plants for pots as they flower best when their roots are confined but they can be planted in the open ground just as well. They flower in loose clusters that look wonderful in vases with dahlias and roses.

Agapanthus by Stan Slade

Last but not least, the blue hydrangea is showstopper! This shrub needs acidic soil (only the blue flowered one) to keep its vibrant colour. It will withstand coastal positions too as long as you keep it well watered. Indeed, ‘hydro’ means water and it is the main element for your success with this plant. Other than that, it is low maintenance (a bit of pruning once a year) and you are guaranteed huge flowerheads in mid and late summer.

Blue Hydrangea by Taylor Smith



A majestic end of the season

Feed pollinators until October with these back season flowering beauties. They are low maintenance, and you will get great results with very little effort.

The prickly sea holly (Eryngium) will perform very well in well-drained soil in full sun. The blooms are praised by florists for long-lasting bouquets or other dried flower arrangements. They tolerate poor soil and salty sea winds, in pots or in the open ground, they are very versatile. You may just avoid the front of the border since they are spiky!

Eryngium by Rebootanika

They look very good with salvias, another end of season flowering perennial. These boast a long flowering season with many varieties to choose from, in whites, pinks and purples. As for pure blue flowers, Salvia Greggii ‘Blue Note’ or Salvia Guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ are some of the best. You will also find a great number of nemorosa varieties in blue-violet if you need shorter plants and to add texture. Not only are they beneficial for the environment, attracting all sorts of pollinators, they are aromatic too, adding fragrance to the garden.

Salvia by J Dean

As for shrubs, two stand out: the Ceratostigma (Chinese plumbago) and the Caryopteris (blue spirea). The first will not only offer beautiful cobalt-blue flowers at the end of the summer and in the autumn, its green foliage, with purple margins, becomes bright red in autumn, adding to the display. The blooms of the Caryopteris are a darker shade of blue and more beneficial for pollinators since they rich in pollen. The foliage may not be as fiery but interesting none-the-less with its silver underneath. Grow both in full sun and in well-drained soil for the best results.


Plumbago by Joanna Huang

Caryopteris by Jana Ohajdova



Blue is not only a rare colour for flowers, it is a colour that touches the soul directly, bringing peace and calm, and ideal to create a safe haven where to retreat. Mix it with white blooms like Phlox paniculata, Ornithogalum, the Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ or the Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ (there is plenty to choose from is that shade) for a serene garden, inviting to relaxation. Incorporate shades of purple or pink for a more dynamic mix and vibrancy, like the lavender, the campanula, the buddleja or the Polygala. Unless you want that ‘Provence’ look to feel like on holiday at home with touches of yellow throughout. In that case the Euryops with its bright daisy-like flowers or the Achillea (yarrow) will make perfect companions.


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