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Lavenders & Blues

Today we're focusing on blossoms with blue and lavender colors.

blue bottle gentian

Photo: Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS (flickr)

Bottle gentian.

Our native Iris cristata, known as the dwarf crested iris, has flowers that range from white through violet. It spreads into colonies and has small sword-shaped leaves and grows in both sun and shade in zones 4 to 8 with May bloom.

Our native Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans) also grows in both sun and shade as long as it has adequate moisture. Its lavender blooms appear in April.

Our native wild geranium (G.maculatum) blooms April through July in zones 3 to 8 and also produces pretty, little 5-petalled flowers in both sun and shade.

A larger plant in the same color family is the Great Blue Lobelia (L.siphilitica), which is a large clump-forming, 2-3 feet tall purple/blue flowering native that prefers medium to wet soil and some shade. It flowers July through October.

Liatris, also known as blazing star, is a magnet for monarch butterflies and produces stalks of purple blossoms in sunny locations August through September.

And in August through October the gorgeous dark-blue bottle gentian (Gentiana Andrewsii), which grows 2 feet high in sun to part sun, blooms, and those tightly closed blossoms are pollinated only by bumblebees. They are slow growing but long lived, and bumblebees are the only insects strong enough to open the closed bulbous blossoms.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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