Choosing what colour flowers to have in your garden can have a big impact on the look and feel of your space. Blue isn't the most common of flower colours, but it combines well with many plants in the garden. It also works beautifully with foliage plants like ferns and ornamental grasses, which allow the blue tones to really stand out. It's important to consider light levels too, for shade, include lots of light and white-flowered plants to perk up dark corners. In sunnier spots, try combining them with orange or red flowers for a vibrant look.
Using the colour wheel, you can decide on the best flower colours to plant together, depending on what you want to achieve. For harmonious colour combinations mix blue flowering plants with purple and white flowers. And for a more striking and vibrant look, try combining them with complementary orange flowers. You might even want to choose clashing colours but make sure there's plenty of green foliage to link your colour scheme.
Many blue flowering plants appear closer to purple in reality, so we've included plenty of true-blue flowers in our selection. Discover some of the best plants with blue flowers to grow, below
Blue isn't the most common of flower colours, but it combines well with many plants in the garden.
Advice on buying plants
- Consider the size of the plants you are buying, how large they will grow and where you plan to put them in your garden - some will suit growing in pots while others will need space in a border
- Check that you have the right conditions to grow the plants you are buying – do not place a plant that requires full sun in a shaded part of your garden
- Some of the plants listed will be available at garden centres but you will find a wider choice at online retailers
Where to buy plants online
The cornflower, or Centaurea cyanus, produces delicate blue blooms that are particularly attractive to bees, birds and other pollinators. Grow in full sun in well-drained soil, and combine with field poppies, corn marigolds, ox-eye daisies and dill.
Ever reliable forget-me-nots are prolific self-seeders, producing carpets of spring blooms – perfect for combining with tulips and wallflowers. For ponds, try the water forget-me-not, Myosotis scorpioides.
Like borage, Anchusa species have intense blue flowers and bristly foliage. They're also popular plants for pollinators and are slug-resistant. Grow in full sun in moist, well-drained soil and enjoy the edible flowers. Cultivars to grow include 'Loddon Royalist' and 'Dropmore'.
Gentians are prized for their vivid blue blooms. Gentiana sino-ornata is said to be the easiest to grow and there are lots of cultivars to choose from. They're ideal for rock gardens and alpine displays, and perform best in neutral to acid soils. Flowers in autumn.
Unlike wood anemones and rue anemones, Anemone obtusiloba is an alpine species with pretty, watercolour-blue flowers. Similar anemones to grow include blue-flowered Anemone blanda and Anemone nemorosa.
Ceratostigmas to grow include Ceratostigma plumbaginoides and Ceratostigma willmottianum, the former being smaller and herbaceous. Both have intensely blue blooms and enjoy growing in a well-drained soil in full sun.
The flowers of many Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis) are a gorgeous, true blue. They do best in shady conditions so are ideal for a moist, shady border. Find out how to grow meconopsis in this video with Monty Don.
Blue-flowered salvias usually have either indigo or true blue flowers. For true blue blooms, try growing cultivars like 'Oxford Blue', 'Cambridge Blue', 'Deep Blue' or 'Dot's Delight'. For best results, grow in a well-drained soil in full sun.
Eryngiums, or sea hollies, are striking perennials with electric blue flowers. They enjoy full sun, so try growing them in a hot, gravel garden alongside plants like echinops and verbascums. They are slug-resistant.
Hydrangeas are robust, deciduous shrubs, with many blue-flowered cultivars to grow. They can be grown in soils of varying pH levels, but acid soils will keep the flowers blue, while more alkaline soils can turn blooms pink. Learn how to prune hydrangeas.
Delphiniums are a staple of cottage gardens, with their tall upright spikes of intensely coloured flowers. Delphinium 'Cristella' has long spikes of intense blue semi-double flowers, with a white 'eye'. The perfect dramatic addition to a sunny border. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun.
Polemonium caeruleum, also known as Jacob's Ladder, produces delicate clusters of lavender-blue flowers with bold orange-yellow stamens. They flower in late spring and summer. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun. Other poleminium to grow are Polemonium reptans and Polemonium yezoense.
This fast growing, upright perennial produces wonderfully bright blue flowers from late summer-autumn. Grow in a sunny and sheltered site in well-drained soil.
Also known as Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ this beautiful annual climber is native to the rainforest of South America. It produces trumpet-shaped blooms that only last a day, but others will follow in quick succession. It is easy to grow, sow where you want it to flower, in moist but well-drained soil in full sun.
There's nothing better than the sight of a carpet of bluebells in spring. But our native bluebell is at risk of dying out due to hybridisation with the Spanish bluebell, first introduced as a garden plant. Find out more about how to tell the difference, and how to grow your own native bluebells. They will grow happily in a shaded spot and they make excellent spring ground cover.
Camassia make a striking addition to the garden, with tall, elegant spines of blue flowers in April and May. Camassia quamash produces blue or white flowers. Plant camassia bulbs in autumn.
Iris setosa, also known as bristle-pointed iris, produces delicate blue or purple-blue flowers in late spring and early summer. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Other blue or purple flowering iris to grow are Iris sibirica ‘Blue King’ and Iris 'Harmony'.
Veronia umbrosa 'Georgia Blue'
Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue' produces masses of blue flowers from late spring to autumn. It's great for edging paths or borders, and would be well suited to a rockery. It's easy to grow, and has a spread of up to 100cm so is perfect for filling in a border. Grow in well-drained soil and full sun.
Vinca minor, or lesser periwinkle, is the best periwinkle choice for a garden. Avoid Vinca major, which is vigorous and can become invasive. Vinca minor will produce neat mats of growth that looks good all year and helps to keep weeds at bay. It thrives in shade which makes it useful for under trees or shrubs.
Echinops bannaticus 'Taplow Blue'
Echinops bannaticus 'Taplow Blue' makes a great choice for adding architectural interest to your borders. It bears large, blue globe-shaped flowers and will provide interest from spring to autumn. It's attractive to bees, butterflies and other insects. Grow in free-draining soil in full sun to partial shade.
Lobelia erinus makes a great choice for partially shaded spots in your garden. It's a trailing species that will produce masses of flowers throughout the summer, perfect for hanging baskets and other containers.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' makes an unusual addition to a spring garden, and is perfect for brightening shady spots. It flowers in April and May, with lots of small bright blue flowers. The pale silver-grey foliage beautifully complements the delicate flowers.
Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’
Hardy geraniums are easy to grow and will flower for months, they make a great addition to any garden. Geranium himalayese 'Gravetye' has large violet-blue flowers with red-flushed, white centres. Grow in sun or partial shade.
Agapanthus ‘Midnight Dream’
Agapanthus, with their strap-like leaves and showy flowers, make a great display when grown in pots. Agapanthus 'Midnight Dream' is a deciduous agapanthus with dark violet-blue to purple flowers. It grows best in a sunny spot and will need some protection over winter.
Lathyrus odoratus ‘King Sized Navy Blue’
Lathyrus odoratus 'King Sized Navy Blue' produces dark blue flowers and is one of the darkest, flowering sweet pea varieties. It can bear up to five blooms on long stems - making it perfect as a cut flower. It is best suited to growing up an obelisk or trellis in the garden, and will also grow well in pots. Grow in full sun.
These are just a few of our favourite plants with blue flowers. You could also try platycodon or balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), which has unusual balloon-shaped violet blue flowers or Salvia x jamensis 'Blue Armor', which has stunning blue flowers from spring until the first frosts.