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Anchusa azurea ‘Feltham Pride’  (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Anchusa azurea ‘Feltham Pride’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zone
Zones vary by species.
Full Sun
Full
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Anchusa

Alkanet
Boraginaceae
Annuals, Perennials, Flowers

These strong growers are related to forget-me-not (Myosotis) but are larger and showier. Their vibrant blue flowers appear from late spring through summer. Alkanets—sometimes called buglosses—are also easy to grow: plant them in well-drained soil and cut back spent flowers for a second bloom. High humidity inhibits growth.

Anchusa azurea ‘Loddon Royalist’ (photo courtesy of Emerisa Gardens)
Anchusa azurea ‘Loddon Royalist’ (photo courtesy of Emerisa Gardens)

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Anchusa azurea

Native to the Mediterranean region. An open, spreading plant to 3–5 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide. Leaves grow 6 in. or longer and are covered with bristly hairs. Clusters of bright blue blossoms appear over a long period in summer, sometimes continuing into fall. Look for gentian blue ‘Dropmore’, sky blue ‘Opal’, and rich blue ‘Loddon Royalist’.

Anchusa capensis

Native to South Africa, where it grows in disturbed areas such as along roads. Grows to 1 1/2 ft. tall and about 8 in. wide with narrow leaves. Bright blue, 1/2-in.-wide flowers with white throats come in open clusters about 2 in. long. It prefers dry, sandy soils. Can be weedy, but sky blue blooms are welcome in many gardens. Bees love them. Plant in well-drained soil. Pretty with white or lavender African daisy (Osteospermum).

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