Anchusa capensis

Pests and diseases: Trouble free.

Height: 23-45cm (9-18in)

Planting: distance: 23cm (9in)

Features: flowers summer

Soil: fertile, moist

Site: open, full sun

Type: annual

The bright blue blooms of Anchusa capensis (the only annual in this genus of predominantly perennial species) are among the few truly blue flowers.

Like the forget-me-not which it closely resembles, it produces flowers over a long season, through mid and late summer. It is only at the end of the season that the spent flowers so greatly outnumber the new ones that the plants begin to look bedraggled.

The plants form compact domes of narrow, pointed, mid-green leaves, making them suitable for growing at the front of a border. The dwarf variety ‘Blue Angel’ is also useful for window boxes.

Popular varieties:

‘Anchusa capensis ‘Blue Angel’ developed from Anchusa capensis.

‘Blue Angel’ has dark blue flowers and forms domes 23cm (9in) high.

‘Blue Bird’ has vivid indigo blue, bowl-shaped flowers and reaches 45cm (Vah) high.

‘Dawn’ is an interesting mixture which reaches 23cm (9in) high. Blooms come in shades of lavender, pink, blue and white.

Cultivation

Sow anchusa in mid spring where the plants are to flower, and thin to 23cm (9in) apart.

The soil should be fertile and moisture retentive, and the site open and in full sun. The plants look best grown in groups.

In summer, remove faded flower stems to encourage more blooms. Water well.

Pests and diseases: Cucumber mosaic virus can cause yellow spots on the leaves. Pests are not usually a problem.

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