Anchusa

Height 23-45cm (9-18in)

Planting distance 23cm (9in)

Flowers mid to late summer

Ordinary garden soil

Sunny open position

Hardy annual

The bright blue blooms of Anchusa capensis (the only annual in this genus of predominantly perennial species) are among the few truly blue flowers. Like the forget-me-not which it closely resembles, it produces flowers over a long season, through mid and late summer. Only at the end of the season do the spent flowers so greatly outnumber the new ones that the plants begin to look bedraggled.

The plants form compact domes of narrow, pointed, mid green leaves, making them suitable for growing at the front of a border; the dwarf variety ‘Blue Angel’ is also useful for window-boxes.

Popular varieties

Several striking varieties have been developed from Anchusa capensis.

‘Blue Angel’ has ultramarine-blue flowers and forms domes 23cm (9in) high.

‘Blue Bird’ has vivid indigo blue flowers and reaches 45cm (18in).

‘Dawn’ grows 23cm (9in) tall and comes as a mixture of white, pink, pale and deep blue, star-like flowers.

Cultivation

Sow in mid spring where the plants are to flower, and thin to 23cm (9in) apart. Any well-cultivated soil is suitable, and the site should be open and in full sun. The plants are best grown in groups.

In summer, remove faded flower stems to encourage more blooms. Water well.

Pests and diseases

Cucumber mosaic virus may cause yellow spots on the leaves. Pests are usually not a problem.

21. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Featured Articles, Plants & Trees | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Anchusa

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