Thursday, August 9, 2012

A True Blue Beauty

Gentiana 'True Blue'
Photo by Diane St. John
Day 183
The Daily DuBrule

I just came back from visiting a garden that contains over a dozen plants of Gentiana 'True Blue'. They were all in bloom, backed by golden hostas and Hakanochole macra 'All Gold', a beautiful dwarf ornamental grass. I planted the Gentians in a partially shaded spot and they are happy as clams. The name fits this plant perfectly. It is really a deep, cobalt blue flower. It can be used as a cut flower and blooms in August and September. In the picture above, Gentiana 'True Blue' is contrasted with the burgundy red fall foliage of Itea.

Many gentians are hard to grow. Some require alpine conditions with sharply drained, alkaline soil. Others are woodland plants and must have a rich, acidic soil with plenty of organic matter. 'True Blue' is a good garden plant, not too fussy, and reliably returns wherever I plant it. In fact, I can think of two instances where this plant came back following Hurricane Irene. I was astounded.

Bred by Darrel Probst in Massachusetts, this is a vast improvement over earlier similar plants such a Gentiana makinoi 'Marsha' and 'Royal Blue'. They had the same gorgeous rich blue, tubular flowers but they flopped over and couldn't be pinched to make them fuller without sacrificing the flowers. 'True Blue' grows 24" tall and has flowers up and down the stems in all the leaf axils. It is well branched and creates a full plant the first year if planted in the spring.

If you are looking for something very special to make your late summer garden pop, consider this particular gentian. Marry it with golden foliage plants and you are good to go.


  1. Looks wonderful. I'm going to look for that plant. I've not had great success with gentians so this looks like a winner.

    1. Go for it Deanne, just not too much sun. This summer affected mine poorly. Now that it is cooler they are much happier!