When our ancestors adopted the flag in 1777, the colors did not have an official meaning attached to them. However, the colors can be traced back to the Great Seal created a year earlier. In this seal, the red, white and blue have meanings that were vital to the creation of our country. The white signifies purity and innocence, the red signifies hardiness and valor and the blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.
On July 4, we wave our flags as patriots. Some patriots take the color theme a step forward and create Fourth of July themed container gardens, window boxes and centerpieces to celebrate the festivities. We have an abundance of red and white flower choices but the blue can be difficult to find in nature. Look for these following blue flowers to add to your red and white creation.
Agapanthus is a long blooming summer flowering rhizome available in the nurseries that can be added to any pot for that pop of blue. Agapanthus has a large globe-shaped flower head reminiscent of a firecracker. They are not winter hardy and prefer to be pot bound. Leave them in the nursery pot when planting in a mixed container and treat as a houseplant once the bloom has passed. When frost comes, rhizomes should dug up and kept in between layers of newspaper or as a foliage plant with limited watering. They favor consistent moisture and full sun when they are growing. Once the rhizome or the plant resumes growth the following year, it takes two to three months to bloom. Agapanthus rhizome is a great investment and will allow vigilant gardeners to always have a show-stopping blue flower on July 4.
Annual salvias have many blue flower varieties to offer gardeners and are easy to grow. Salvia farinaceae, also known as mealycup sage, grows in full sun, is drought tolerant, very attractive to pollinators and blooms blue all season long. Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ displays a cobalt blue flower with black calyx (sepals), can handle a bit more shade, and blooms until frost. Salvia patens, also known as gentian sage, has true baby blue flowers that wave like flags in the wind. These easy-to-grow blue salvias do not get the justice they deserve, as they are a must-have annual for every flower garden.
Blue hydrangeas and late summer flowering Caryopteris can be a quick addition to a pot and then planted later in the fall for a permanent spot in the garden. With perseverance, blue will be highlighted in your garden the following year.
Other blue flowering annuals are ageratum, brachyscome and evolvulus ‘Blue Daze.’