Gentiana asclepiadea

The willow gentian is an undemanding beauty. Tall and graceful, with trumpet flowers of true, intense gentian blue, it is long-lived, hardy and, unlike many members of the genus, lime-tolerant. It is surprisingly easy to grow.

It is a herbaceous plant with stems up to 2 feet (60 cm) long carrying pairs of slender, willowlike leaves with the flowers emerging from the axils. As the stems grow, they arch over, so that the whole plant is weeping by flowering time in late summer.

Gentiana asclepiadea likes deep, rich soil, and must have a moist, shady position, looking better among shrubs substantial clumps at least 12 inches (30 cm) wide.

There is a white-flowered form, ‘Alba’, worth growing if you have space for both colours, but the blue must have priority.

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