12 Best Garden Plants With Blue Flowers

Illustration of blue flowers

The Spruce

It can be difficult to find plants with blue flowers to grow in the garden. Most blue flowers lean more toward lavender or purple than a true blue. Sunlight also plays tricks on coloring, and the photos you see in seed catalogs are often not the colors that wind up in your garden.

Blue flowers might be elusive, but they do exist. Here are 12 plants with blue flowers to grow in the garden.

Tip

You can do a little color experimenting with annuals, as they're relatively inexpensive, especially if you start them from seed. But if you plan on investing in perennial plants, try to see them in bloom before you make a purchase.

  • 01 of 12

    African Lily (Agapanthus africanus)

    blue flowers of the African lily (Agapanthus africanus)

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    The genus Agapanthus contains about 10 species, all with large clusters of flowers in shades of blue or white. Agapanthus africanus is known as the lily of the Nile, the African blue lily, or just the African lily. As its common names suggest, its flowers are somewhat lily-like, and they bloom through most of the summer. It is a tender perennial, only reliably hardy down to U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 8. It grows from a fleshy rhizome and can be dug and stored for the winter in cooler areas.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Fertile, moist, and well-draining
  • 02 of 12

    Blue Star (Amsonia sp.)

    Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana)

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    There are enough species of Amsonia for everyone to find their favorite shade of blue. The fluffy clusters of flowers are composed of many small, star-shaped blooms, giving this plant its common name of blue star. The flowers stay lovely for weeks, and even the seed pods look nice. Arkansas blue star (Amsonia hubrichtii) was named the 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year. It has deep blue flowers and narrow, lance-shaped leaves that burst into gold in the fall.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, moist, and well-draining
  • 03 of 12

    False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

    False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

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    A close look at the leaves and flowers of Baptisia australis should tell you it is in the pea family. Native to eastern North America, this plant is popular for making blue dye. Its common name is blue false indigo. The plant can be slow to get established, but once it is, it will send down a deep taproot and does not like to be budged.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, dry to medium moisture, and well-draining
  • 04 of 12

    Borage (Borago officinalis)

    Borage flowers
    Marie Iannotti

    Borago officinalis is an underused plant, which is ironic because it's a member of the forget-me-not family. Borage is an easy-to-grow annual that will self-sow. It is considered an herb with medicinal qualities, including working as a diuretic and an emollient. It is also a culinary herb with a scent and flavor similar to cucumbers. The leaves get prickly as they mature, but you should let some of them grow to get the lively blue blossoms, which also have a mild cucumber aroma.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich and well-draining (but tolerates poor, dry soil)
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

    Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)
    Marie Iannotti

    The blue mist shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis) really does create a haze of blue in late summer. When in bloom, it will be covered with buzzing bees that love its nectar-rich flowers. It is often considered a sub-shrub, meaning it has woody stems. The plant blooms on new wood and should be cut to within inches of the ground in early spring. Other than that, it is maintenance-free. There are several cultivars available in various shades of blue. 'Grand Bleu' is a rich, dark blue; 'Longwood Blue' is a bright, pale blue; and 'Sunshine Blue' has lavender-blue flowers on bright gold foliage.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Loose, loamy, medium moisture, and well-draining
  • 06 of 12

    Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

    cornflowers

    Tobias Nicht/Getty Images

    Whether you call them cornflowers or bachelor's buttons, Centaurea cyanus is one charming wildflower. It got the name cornflower because it grew wild in European cornfields. Bachelor's button came about because bachelors apparently would wear the flower in their lapels when they went courting. The plant's abundant flowers are spiky disks, somewhat resembling thistles without the thorns. It is an annual that will self-sow. The mountain bluet (Centaurea montana) is considered a perennial cornflower.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, and well-draining
  • 07 of 12

    Gentians (Gentiana sp.)

    Gentiana dahurica

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    There are hundreds of species of Gentians. Not all of them are blue, but so many are that it is impossible to talk about blue flowers and not include them. Naturally, there is much diversity among the species, but most are alpine or woodland plants that prefer the cooler, wet seasons. Gentiana dahurica is a late-season bloomer and tends to sprawl a bit more than other varieties. It has the familiar five-petal, slightly tubular shape of most gentians. Some of the spring-blooming species, including Gentian alpina and Gentian angustifolia, are more mat-forming with tubular flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, acidic, and evenly moist
  • 08 of 12

    Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)

    close up of a blue flower of the blue poppy

    Steven Nadin/Getty Images

    The Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia) is a gardening legend. Some even consider it the test of a gardening master. It can be difficult to grow because it is native to the mountains of southeastern Tibet, where it lives in a shady, moist shelter. Not many of us can create the climate of Tibet in our gardens, but enough gardeners have had success to make it worth a try. Under good conditions, it can spread and perennialize, but even growing the plant for a single season is worth the treat. The seed packets usually come with detailed directions for sowing, and some gardeners report great success winter sowing these seeds.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich clay or loam, consistently moist, and well-draining
    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Love in a Mist (Nigella damascena)

    small blue flower of Nigella damascena

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    Nigella damascena got the name Love in a Mist because of its airy, dill-like foliage that surrounds the flowers. It is a freely seeding annual flower that will tuck itself throughout your garden. The plants do not like to be moved, but you can scatter seeds to have it in various areas. The seeds need light to germinate, so do not cover them. Nigella will flower throughout the season, and it makes a great cut flower.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, and sandy
  • 10 of 12

    Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)

    Lungwort flowers (Pulmonaria)

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    Lungwort is one of the first plants to perk up in the spring. And though not all varieties bloom blue, those that do are resplendent. You might be familiar with the variegated leaf varieties. Some are dotted with white, and others are washed with silver. These look good all season, though many of the plain green-leaf varieties have the most brilliant blue flowers. These plants are shade lovers and look beautiful in woodland settings.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, neutral to alkaline, and well-draining
  • 11 of 12

    Black and Blue sage (Salvia guaranitica)

    Black and blue sage
    Marie Iannotti

    The striking combination of vivid blue flowers and black sepals on black and blue sage (Salvia guaranitica) is reason enough to try growing the plant. It is also a hummingbird and large butterfly magnet. You might see it listed as Brazilian sage or blue anise sage. It is perennial to USDA hardiness zone 7 and can become aggressive in some areas. In cooler zones, the plant is popular as an annual. It is taller than most of the annual salvias and unique in form and color.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, evenly moist, and well-draining
  • 12 of 12

    Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica)

    Siberian squill flowers

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    It's called Siberian squill, but these tiny bulbs will naturalize in USDA zones 2 through 8. All the plant needs is a little bit of chill to trigger its winter rest. While dormant, it builds up the energy to reproduce and bloom very early in the spring. When allowed to spread far and wide, it can turn a landscape into a sea of blue flowers. As with most early bulbs, it usually has few pests or problems. It needs moisture while it is growing and drier conditions while dormant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average and well-draining