Written by: Jade Calder
In nature, blue is the colour of the sky and sea. When one thinks of blue skies and azure blue seas, it is associated with peace and tranquility above everything else. Universally, it is considered the most popular colour of them all. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body as it produces a calming effect when used in design.
There are very few true blue blue flowering flora in South Africa, with most garden subjects tending to be mauve or purple, rather than blue.
Life Landscapes has created a ‘blueprint’ for a blue palette garden with these these indigenous sapphire flowering garden specimens.
Blue flowering shrubs for a blue themed landscape
Blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
The blue plumbago is a tremendously consistent, hardy scrambling shrub that has earned a reputation among landscapers. In summer, the bush is covered with pretty trusses of baby blue flowers. The blue plumbago is visited by butterflies and is one of the larval foods plant for the common blue butterfly (Cyclyrius pirithous) which is a fairly common in garden butterfly as a result of the popularity of plumbagos in gardens. For more garden plant for butterflys read: How to create a Butterfly garden.
Blue Cat’s Whiskers (Clerodendrum myricoides)
Is a medium-sized evergreen shrub that bears masses of pleasant blue flowers in summer. The flowers are visited by carpenter bees, which pollinate them and the fruits are eaten by Frugivorous birds. It is a beautiful shrub for low screening in a small garden. It also looks stunning when grown in a container.
Pajama bush (Lobostemon fruticosus)
Used as a popular old Cape remedy, this small shrub always attracts admiration with its showy blue and pink flowers. Flowering takes place from early spring to summer, turning the bush into a colourful exhibition of shades of blue. The pink bud opens into a bell-shaped flower, starting off pink and fading into light blue. This shrub prefers areas that are in full sun and well drained, from sandy flats to rocky mountain slopes. The flowers are frequently visited by bees.
Flowers for a blue palette garden
Blue felicia bush (Felicia amelloides)
This blue-eyed bush is a head-turner with its striking sky-blue flowerheads. Apart from its beauty, this plant has many benefits for a landscaper. It is hardy, fast growing, long-flowering, long-lived and needs only moderate water and little care. It is an absolute must-have for a blue palette garden.
Cape-forget-me-not (Anchusa capensis)
The Cape-forget-me-not is easily noticeable with its cobalt blue blossoms come spring and summer. Its flowers are a favourite among butterflies and bees (bees favourite colours are yellow and blue) It’s a very easy-going plant, adapting to most soils, surviving on very little water and seeding itself readily. The basic requirements are full sun and well-drained soil.
Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus praecox)
I doubt that there is a South African gardener alive that has not come across an Agapanthus somewhere! To get them to perform at their best, give rich, well-drained soil with ample compost. It prefers full sun, and some hybrids will flower in semi-shade. It is ideal for mass displays and are a good companion for winter growing plants like Chasmanthe floribunda.
Cambridge Blue (Lobelia erinus)
Lobelias make excellent edging plants for flower beds or can be grown in containers and hanging baskets. It has a particularly long flowering period, from mid spring to early autumn. It is perennial in subtropical climates, but often grown as an annual plant in colder areas.
Carpet flower (Aptosimum procumbens)
This is an ideal water-wise plant for a water conscious garden or a xeriscape. It makes a great ground cover in a landscape. When in full bloom the plant is covered with dark blue, trumpet-shaped flowers that can appear at any time of the year. The carpet flower can be used in pots, hanging baskets, and flower boxes. It prefers a sunny spot in a garden and can withstand prolonged periods of drought. Another unusual application is planting them between paving slabs in the same way that ornamental grasses are used to soften surfaces.
Blue pride of Nieuwoudtville (Geissorhiza splendidissima)
The Geissorhiza splendidissima does not make for an ideal garden subject as it is one of the wild daisies from the Western Cape, however we thought we’d mention it due to its glossy dark blue flowers. This winter-growing bulbous plant should be sown in autumn and allowed a long dormant period in summer, when watering must be withheld. It can sometimes survive in containers on patios.