OMPHALODES Navelwort, Blue-eyed Mary

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in spring. O. missouriensis is an exception – sow seeds under glass in spring.

The range of reliable carpeting plants which will flourish and flower in the shade under trees and shrubs is quite limited – Navelwort is worth searching for. The blue flowers are borne early in the season in loose sprays above the foliage which remains green almost all year round. The roots require humus – add peat, compost or leaf mould when planting and mulch around the stems in spring. Dead heading will prolong the floral display.

VARIETIES: O. cappadocica produces all-blue flowers, about ½ in. across, in graceful sprays. Basic details are height 9 in., spacing 1 ft.

Flowering period: May-June. The variety ‘Anthea Bloom’ bears pale blue flowers. A variation in flower colour is found in O. verna – each blue bloom has a prominent white centre. It is rather lower-growing than O. cappadocica and there are other differences – it is earlier flowering (March-May) and quicker growing. Choose O. verna if you want to cover a patch of ground with Omphalodes in the shortest possible time.

SITE AND SOIL: Any moisture-retentive garden soil will do – thrives best in shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn. |:ItI;li]j; idsKIHWIMlt

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