Blue bugloss might be hard to find in the garden center. Hop online to search out this easy-to-grow perennial with brilliant blue flowers. Closely related to borage, blue bugloss has airy bloom spikes in late spring. Wonderful for mass plantings, perennial borders, or an informal edging along a fence line, this clump-forming perennial will self-seed.
Plant a Cottage Garden
Pair blue bugloss with other easy-to-grow perennials and annuals for a colorful, whimsical cottage garden. Great planting partners include salvia, hollyhock, false indigo, lilies, dahlias, bellflower, and coralbells. A cottage garden can be a roving landscape bed or a simple 5-foot by 5-foot plot next to a patio. Choose a location where you can enjoy the riot of blossoms and harvest cut flowers for bouquets.
Blue Bugloss Care Must-Knows
Blue bugloss is easy to grow in full sun and well-drained soil. Fast-draining soil is essential for good growth and is especially important for successful overwintering. This perennial grows well in deep, rich, fertile loam but tends to flop over easily in this soil type, so it may require staking. Keep blue bugloss standing tall by sinking a tall bamboo stake into the soil alongside the plant. Gently tie the flower spikes to the stake with garden twine.
Deadhead blue bugloss as soon as the first flowers fade in early summer. Deadheading encourages a second growth of buds. Deadheading also helps prevent unwanted seedlings. Count on blue bugloss to reseed with vigor, sometimes to an invasive degree. If foliage turns unsightly in summer, cut plants back to about 6 inches above ground level. This rejuvenation pruning will spur plants to develop fresh, new foliage.
More Varieties of Blue Bugloss
Anchusa azurea is a coarse-textured plant with forget-me-not-like blue flowers in late spring to early summer. The 3-foot-tall plants require excellent drainage to prevent them from rotting over winter. Promptly deadhead flower stalks after bloom to prevent self-seeding. Zones 3-8.
This variety of Anchusa azurea has deep blue flowers and grows 3–4 feet tall. A floppy plant, it requires staking or a nearby plant to lean against, especially when it is in bloom. Also known as Italian bugloss, it blossoms best when it is deadheaded as soon as it finishes blooming. Zones 3-8.
Anchusa officinalis, sometimes also called common bugloss or alkanet, is considered a noxious weed in some regions of the West. It prefers dry, sandy soil. Remove faded flower stalks to prevent the plant from spreading by seed. Zones 4-8.
Plant Blue Bugloss With:
This hard-working group of perennials does so much. They bloom for a long time in wonderful colors atop tall, striking plants. They produce a nectar that is irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies. Most are heat and drought tolerant. And their foliage and flowers are fragrant, with scents ranging from licorice to bubblegum.Most require well-drained soil and prefer full sun, although they will tolerate light shade.
Add a pool of sunshine to the garden with a massed planting of black-eyed Susan. From midsummer, these tough native plants bloom their golden heads off in sun or light shade and mix well with other perennials, annuals, and shrubs. Tall varieties look especially appropriate among shrubs, which in turn provide support. Add black-eyed Susans to wildflower meadows or native plant gardens for a naturalized look. Average soil is sufficient for black-eyed Susans, but it should be able to hold moisture fairly well.