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This is a glorious water plant, not least for its conspicuous tight spikes of blue flowers towards the end of the season. It is a North American native, naturally colonising large areas of swamps, and the plants are happiest where they can spread freely in marginal mud. To confine their spread they are best planted in baskets, but make sure they are covered by 23-30cm (9-12in) of water in cold districts to ensure their safety from frost. They also grow well in bog gardens, but should be mulched for protection in early winter. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
Plant type: Marginal
Flower colour: Blue
Foliage colour: Mid-green
Sun exposure: Full sun
Skill level: Experienced
Time to divide plants: April to May
Flowering period: August to September
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