Echinops ritro 'Veitch's Blue'

Plants for a cool-toned colour scheme

We pick some of the best plants with pink, purple, blue or white flowers.

Blue, purple, pink and white flowers can be combined to great effect in a cool-toned planting scheme. Add silver foliage, too, to complete the look.

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By avoiding hot colours (red, orange, yellow) you’ll create a harmonious design that’s restful to the eye – perfect if you need an area of the garden in which to relax, wind down and enjoy some quiet time.

Another benefit of keeping to the cooler side of the colour wheel is that pale flowers are particularly resonant during twilight, helping to brighten up shady spots.

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Keep it cool, with the help of our plant recommendations, below.


Pulmonarias

Pulmonaria 'Ocupol'
Pulmonaria ‘Ocupol’

Commonly known as lungworts, these spring-flowering perennials have charming, spotted leaves topped by blue, purple or pink flowers, depending on the cultivar you choose. They’re fabulous in shady borders and are a valuable source of spring nectar for pollinators.

Height x spread: 50cm x 50cm.


Allium caeruleum

Allium caeruleum
Allium caeruleum

With their usually purple flowerheads, there are many alliums that could be grown in a cool-toned border, but Allium caeruleum is the only allium with true blue flowers. Grow this summer-flowering species in full sun with well-drained soil.

H x S: 80cm x 10cm.


Gillenia

Gillenia trifoliata
Gillenia trifoliata

Bowman’s root, Gillenia trifoliata, is a beautiful perennial with starry white flowers in June and July that are perfect for brightening up the partially shaded spots it enjoys.

H x S: 1m x 50cm.


Veronicastrum

Veronicastrum virginicum 'Lavendelturm'
Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Lavendelturm’

These elegant perennials enjoy growing in a moist, well-drained soil, but are otherwise suited to full sun or partial shade. The tallest veronicastrums can reach over 2m tall and all attract pollinating insects.

H x S: 2.5m x 1m.


Meconopsis

Meconopsis 'Lingholm'
Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’

Himalayan blue poppies, Meconopsis, have some of the most stunning true blue flowers, though there are white- and purple-flowered varieties to grow, too. Plant them in moist, neutral to acidic soil in dappled to full shade.

H x S: 1.2m x 45cm.


Hardy geraniums

Geranium psilostemon
Geranium psilostemon

Hardy geraniums such as Geranium psilostemon (pictured) are robust and easy to grow, with a long flowering season. Grow smaller alpine types in full sun and border types in light shade.

H x S: 50cm x 50cm.


Michaelmas daisies

Symphyotrichum novi-belgii 'Algar's Pride'
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Algar’s Pride’

Towards the end of summer and into autumn, Michaelmas daisies perk up displays while many other plants are fading.

Video: Monty Don planting Michaelmas daisies

H x S: 1m x 50cm.


Delphiniums

Delphinium 'Amadeus'
Delphinium ‘Amadeus’

Deservedly one of the most popular border perennials, delphinium flower spikes are covered in abundant blooms during the summer months. Flower colours include purples, pinks, blues and white, so there’s plenty of choice if you have more specific colours in mind.

H x S: 2m x 1m.


Echinops

Echinops ritro 'Veitch's Blue'
Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’

These architectural thistles bear steel-blue flowers atop silvery, cobwebbed leaves from mid- to late summer. They’re easy to grow, pollinators love them and they make beautiful cut flowers, fresh or dried.

H x S: 90cm x 45m.


Foxgloves

White foxgloves
White foxgloves

For cool-toned foxgloves to grow, go for one of the many cultivars of our native foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, or try the species itself. They’re good for bumblebees and being woodland plants, are well-suited to growing in shady areas.

H x S: 1.5m x 45cm.

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Plants with silver foliage to try