Mother nature loves the color green, and it goes on for as far as the eye can see. However, once in a while a spot of blue will jump out and the endless sea of green.
To be precise, it is estimated that less than 10% of colored plant species are blue, and this small statistic is reflected throughout other kingdoms within nature.
But blue is a master trickster. This is because the color does not actually exist in nature. Nowhere in the natural world will you find a blue pigment, as it is a result of light bending in a special way within cells, before reflecting out to our eyes.
This is one explanation for why some plants are blue, but it is not the only one. Although there does not exist a true blue pigment, there are plants which create their own.
They do this by producing different amounts of anthocyanins (red pigment) floral cells, which can blend to make blue.
Blue plants are some of the most eye-catching on the planet. They are a rarity and there’s more to them than meets the eye. So let’s take a look at 8 types of blue plants.
8 Blue Plants
Delphinium, commonly known as Larkspur is a genus of herbaceous perennial. They are hardy, meaning that they can handle cold winters. And the scale of hardiness, they do right down to H5.
The plants disappear from late autumn when they begin to die back, but come spring they re-grow.
They grow best in spots which are sheltered from wind, and in moist fertile soil. The best time of year for Delphiniums is the cooler periods of summer.
Hotter and drier periods do not bode so well for them as it can increase the chances of them developing a powdery mildew for which they are known.
Delphiniums are of the family Ranunculaceae, which is native throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and higher mountains of tropical Africa.
Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus named the genus, of which all roughly 300 species are toxic to humans and livestock.
Native to Asia and the Americas, hydrangea is a genus of over 75 species of flowering plants. And it is by far the most diverse species of plants in eastern Asia, most predominantly Japan, Korea, and China.
There are hydrangeas which are evergreen, and hydrangeas which lose their leaves (deciduous), however, it is the deciduous species which are most commonly cultivated.
These vibrant plants can grow as vines or trees, but it is most common to see them grown in shrub form. And the heights can vary greatly. They can be from one foot tall, as far up as 100 feet if growing as a climbing vine.
People love these plants because of the beautiful array of colors which they produce. They flower from early spring into the fall, And leaves grow in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Colors are not only shades of blue, but also red, pink, white, and purple. And the flowering shrubs can grow in light light partial shade, the full sun conditions.
Forget Me Not
Belonging to the family Boraginaceae, forget-me-not is a genus of flowering plants known to botanists as Myosotis.
The stems are tall and hairy, and sometimes can grow up to 2 feet in height. Flowering takes place from May until October times, and flowers are five-petaled with yellow centers surrounded by blue blooms.
These plants grow well in areas of high humidity and moisture, and so are found near streams and brooks, and other bodies of water. Along with moisture, forget-me-nots grow well in little direct sunlight.
The genus could potentially have up to 500 species, however, botanists currently only agree on 74 being true Myosotis.
And these are largely restricted to Western Eurasia and New Zealand, with approximately 60 and 40 confirmed species respectively.
The memorable name dates back to a 15th century legend, which says that whoever wears the flower, will not be forgotten by their loved ones.
A bit of a mouthful, the hyacinthoides non-scripta, commonly known as bluebell, is a bulbous perennial plant found in Atlantic areas from the British Isles all the way to north-western Spain.
About half of the bluebells found in the world grow in the UK, and according to British conservation charity Plantlife, were voted the UK’s favorite plant.
Bluebells grow from bulbs, and produce 3 to 6 leaves. These grow from the base of the plant and are linear.
Over much of their range, bluebells are deciduous woodland, which flower and leaf early before the canopy closes in late spring.
It grows best in slightly acidic soil ,and has adapted to penetrate layers of fallen leaves to grow well in wooded areas.
Along with their charming appearance, bluebells are also useful when it comes to forest conservation. This is because their presence helps identify ancient forests, which can then be protected.
Passiflora incarnata , also known as maypop, or the passion flower, is a perennial vine which grows fast, with either climbing or trailing stems. The flowers are complex and large, and have unique styles and stamens.
The passion flower is a species of the genus Passiflora, and is one of the hardiest able to grow in a range of conditions. It is found as a wildflower in the southern United States, and also widely cultivated for its blue appearance.
Passion flower seeds also contain juice. This is another reason for cultivation, and the juice is used to flavor processed food products, or can be consumed fresh.
The plant has a rich history, and has played a role around the world. In the Americas, natives used the flower as a sedative.
And when Spanish explorers found out about the flower in the 16th century, it was brought back to Europe. There it became widely cultivated for use within folk medicine.
Nowadays the passion flower is marketed as a health supplement, particularly for sleep problems, as well as anxiety.
Also known as bachelor’s buttons, annual cornflowers give us radiant and attractive blue leaves from spring right through to the fall. It is a species within the family Asteraceae, and is native to Europe.
Scientifically named Centaurea cyanus, the plant often breaks its cultivation barriers, and invades neighboring fields, giving them blue spots.
The flowers produce both nectar and pollen, and attract pollinators. They easily grow from seeds which are sewn into the ground directly during spring, or from self-sewn seeds in the fall before.
Annual cornflowers are now endangered in their native habitats. This is because of human activity, particularly the over-use of herbicides. But, in other parts of the world, the plant has integrated into ecosystems.
These include North America and parts of Australia. Naturalization into other ecosystems occurred because of their popularity as ornamental plants in gardens, and as a contaminant in crop seeds.
Muscari, is native to Eurasia and is a genus of bulbous perennial plants. Grace hyacinths are one of its species, and it grows blue, pod-shaped flowers which resemble bunches of grapes.
This is where the name comes from, although, in the United States, they are also called bluebells or bluebonnets.
The muscari genus has its origins in the Mediterranean basin, regions of Europe, northern Africa, along with various parts of Asia. However, over time it has become naturalized to northern Europe as well as the United States.
The leaves are usually narrow, and grow out from a bulb. The flowers then begin to appear in spring and form a spike shape, much like a spear tip. These are held in a compact spiral around a central stalk.
Over time the flowers lose their compactness as maturity takes place. Flower colors vary through different shades of blue, mostly light blue to very dark.
And in some plants, the upper flowers may be of a different shape to the lower ones.
The individual flowers have a complex structure. They are formed from six tepals (smaller parts of a flower) to create a pear shape, which is narrower at one end. This creates a small hole, and the tepals surround it to form what look like ‘teeth’.
Grape hyacinths are adaptable and can live in all fertile soils, including alkaline ones. However, when growing in alkaline soils, good drainage is essential. In early spring they require full sun, but later on can grow healthily in partial shade.
Columbine is a 70 species-strong genus also known as Aquilegia, columbine grows in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. They are recognized for the spurred petals of their flowers.
It is not a hard flower to grow, and the flowers are also found in pink, red, and yellow. And aside from its beauty, columbine also attracts hummingbirds.
Columbine grows best in well-drained soil in mild conditions, along with full sunshine. However, it can also grow in partial shade.
Rare in number, but abundant in beauty, blue flowers are dotted around the world , adding a unique tint to mother nature.