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The blues ... summer flowers to start from seed now.

Good blues are among the most sought-after garden colors. When planting for summer, many gardeners choose blue-flowered plants because their cool color tempers the warmer shades--yellow, orange, pink, and red--and constrats attractively with them. Yet, if you desire more variety in summer blue than the bedding plant basics--ageratum, delphinium, and lobelia--you may have to grow them from seed. Nurseries seldom sell these as started plants.

The following list of blue-flowered summer bloomers will give you an idea of the choices. Seeds for most of the ones listed here are available on racks at nurseries and garden stores or from mail-order seed companies. Specialty nurseries may carry some of the plants or be able to order them for you.

If you start with seeds, sow them as soon as possible. The annuals should bloom this summer; some of the biennials and perenials may take a bit longer. Annuals

Borage (Borago officinalis). Grows 1 to 3 feet tall; takes sun or light shade, poor soil, moderate water.

Amethyst flower (Browallia americana, B. speciosa). Grows 1 to 2 feet tall; prefers light shade, warmth, moisture.

China aster (Callistephus chinensis). Grows 1 to 3 feet tall; needs sun, loamy or sandy soil, light to moderate water; select carefully for color; it also comes in pink, red and white.

Bachelor's button, cornflower (Centaurea cyanus). Grows 1 to 2-1/2 feet tall; prefers full sun, light soil, moderate water.

Annual statice (Limonium sinuatum). Grows 2 feet tall; needs full sun, tolerates many soils where drainage is good; usually sold in a mix along with pink or other colors.

Baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii). Grows 6 to 10 inches tall; likes full sun to partial shade, constant moisture.

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena 'Miss Jekyll'). Grows 1 to 2-1/2 feet tall; takes full sun to part shade, normal garden water; sow seeds in ground where they are to grow (reseeds readily).

California bluebell (Phacelia campanularia). Grows 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall; prefers full sun, light soil; sow seeds where they are to grow; most effective in masses.

Blue lace flower (Trachymene coerulea, Didiscus coeruleus). Grows 2 feet tall; prefers full sun, regular water, not too much heat; tolerates most soils; sow seed in ground where plants are to grow. Annuals or biennials

Summer forget-me-not (Anchusa capensis). Grows to 1-1/2 feet tall; compact varieties available; prefers sun, dry soil.

Canterbury bell (Campanula medium). Grows to 2-1/2 to 4 feet tall; prefers moist soil and full sun near coast, partial shade inland.

Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile 'Firmament'). Grows 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall; prefers full sun, regular watering; best when seed is sown in place in the garden (reseeds readily).

Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica, M. alpestris). Grows to 1 foot tall; prefers partial shade, rich soil, ample moisture; reseeds readily. Perennials

Aconite, garden monkshood (Aconitum napellus). Grows 2 to 5 feet tall; prefers rich soil, shade, plenty of moisture.

Columbine (Aquilegia alpina, A. caerulea). Grows 1 to 3 feet tall, depending on variety; prefers damp soil, light shade; takes full sun along coast.

Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla). Grows to 1-1/2 feet tall; prefers sun or light shade near coast but does best in light shade inland.

Globe thistle (Echinops exaltatus). Grows 3 to 4 feet tall; needs full sun, well-drained, ordinary soil; plants look best with moderate watering.

Sea holly (Eryngium alpinum 'Superbum', E. amethystimum). Grows 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 feet tall. Best in full sun, deep, sandy soil; drought tolerant when established; sow seed where plants are to grow.

Blue marguerite (Felicia amelloides, Agathea coelestis). Grows 1-1/2 feet tall; likes full sun, moderate water, any soil; prune back in late summer to encourage new blooming wood.

statice, sea lavender (Limonium perezii). Grows to 3 feet tall; best in same conditions as annual L. sinautaum.

Blue flax (Linum perenne). Grows to 2 feet tall; prefers full sun and light, well-drained soil.

Himalayan poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia, M. baileyi). Grows 2 to 4 feet tall; needs shade, cool, humid air, loose, acid soil, summer water; difficult--try it where rhododendrons thrive.

Catmint (Nepeta faassenii, N. mussinii). Grows 1 to 2 feet tall; needs full sun, normal watering; shear faded flowers to prolong bloom.

Beard tongue (Penstemon heterophyllus purdyi 'Blue Bedder'). Grows 1 to 2 feet tall; does best in full sun (light shade in hot-summer areas); prefers loose, well-drained soil, infrequent watering.

Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus). Grows to 3-1/2 feet tall; prefers sun near coast, light shade inland, good soil, moderate water; goes completely dormant in winter; remove spent flowers (not entire stems) to prolong bloom.

Sage (Salvia 'Allen Chickering', S. elevelandii). Grows to 4 feet tall; needs sun, well-drained soil, little summer water.

Mealy-cup sage (Salvia farinacea); S. azurea grandiflora. The first grows to 3 feet tall, the second to 5 feet; both prefer sun, good drainage, moderate water.

Stokes aster (Stokesia laevis). Grows 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall; prefers full sun, average water, good drainage; a rugged, adaptable, underused plant.
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Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1984
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