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Cool Indigenous Blues for Summer

It’s hot! You just need something to cool you down, and blue flowers in the garden certainly help. We know that Agapanthus are doing their utmost – and there are so many shades, shapes and heights available that it’s simply dizzying. What else flowers blue in summer? Let’s chill out with some gentle summer blues.

Why not try adding Aristeas to your gardening repertoire? They’re so easy going, thriving in sun as well as in shade and they’re among the most intense blues you’ll find in the plant kingdom. They love growing beside water features and ponds, but their adaptability allows for drought hardiness too.  Have you seen the mountains of the Cape adorned with flashes of blue in summerChoose between tall-growing species such as the massive Aristea major or choose one of its more petite cousins such as Aristea ecklonii or Aristea ensifolia.

Indigenous salvias are gearing up to do their best, and they’re really low-maintenance plants. Poor soil, heat and drought don’t stop Salvia chamelaeagnea from producing spikes of blue-and-white blooms. The only maintenance these plants need is a good, hard cut when they stop flowering in autumn. Take them almost down to the ground and next summer, you’ll have an even better display!

Silvery blue Salvia africana caerulea also has silvery foliage. This shrub is a summer winner with its unusual clusters of blooms and colourful bracts. Once again, we’re looking at a plant with good drought tolerance that’s adaptable to most situations. In this case, however, we can add ‘good on the coast’ to the list of cool things it can do.

Other summer-flowering blues include fluffy flowered Scabiosa (great for borders) and tough, always-flowering Plectranthus neochilus (lobster claw) as well as the giant sage: Brilliantasia subulugurica. Although the lobster claw grows well in sun, it is at its best in shade. Try Justicia capensis in shade too: the pouting blooms of this low-growing shrub are just too pretty to ignore!



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