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Get the Blues

By Debbie Roland and Emmy Ulmschneider, Master Gardeners

Did you know that less than 10% of flowers are blue? For the past few years, I’ve been trying to think of ways to plant blue in my backyard, also known as my happy place. If you read our articles, you know that my husband and I have had raised beds added to our yard so that growing vegetables would be easier. That endeavor has been a success and the soil we have coddled and fed is thriving.

I’ve canned and frozen veggies and now want to move on to getting more blue in my life. My favorite color is periwinkle blue, a color I fell in love with during hours and hours of coloring with my granddaughter. Although she is much older now my love of the color has reared its head again. So, I’m researching.

Blue flowers are a blend of pigments that reflect light to make them look like they are naturally blue. Most are just different tints of that color. Blue flowers are also rare but there are a few West Texas options. Apparently with careful planning our gardens can sing the blues from spring until fall.

Clematis, Delphinium, Geranium, Iris, Periwinkle, Phlox, Salvia and Rosemary are just a few of the perennials with blue flowers that will grow in West Texas.

Annuals that will grow are Plumbago, Borage, and Morning Glory. Be careful with Morning Glories, they are extremely invasive. Emmy grows Hardy Blue Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) which is a perennial groundcover.

If shrubs are more your style, try Rosemary and Wisteria. I understand that Wisteria can be invasive in other parts of the country. I planted one about two years ago that was 2’ tall and, guess what? It is still 2’ tall. I keep telling myself that it is just establishing its root system and not just stalling in its job of completely covering a storage building.

There are of course, blue flowering natives! Perhaps are most memorable is the bluebonnet which we wrote about in last weeks article about wildflowers. Other blue hued (and I am including wildflowers in the blue to blue-purple range) that we have written about include annuals as well as perennials such as: Gregg’s Mistflower, Woolly Stemodia, Fall Aster, Mealy Blue Sage, Snake Herb, and Germander Sage. Other blue to purple favorites in my yard include Blazing Star, Dwarf Ruellia, and a weedy but pretty Widow’s Tears.

Paint is another way to establish blue in your yard. Blue pots, blue accents and blue sculptures all reinforce the blue motif. I recently saw a photo of a blue garden gate that had been painted on a long lenth of wooden fence, complete with painted hinges and a latch.

So, what’s your favorite color? It is time to plan for spring planting.

If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.

Additional information, and our blog for access to past articles, is available at Click on “Resources”.


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