Annuals, Perennials, Flowers
Colorful South African natives, some with fragrant flowers. Not at their best in hot weather, though new N. caerulea hybrids are more heat-tolerant than other types. All need well-drained soil. Remove faded flowers to prolong bloom. Use as bedding or rock garden plants, in hanging baskets, or as bulb covers.
Grows to 2 ft. high and 1 ft. wide, with small bright green leaves and upright stems carrying many intensely fragrant blossoms in blue, pink, or lavender. Flowers are narrower than those of N. strumosa. Often blooms for months without special attention (almost all year in cool-summer, mild-winter climates); but if flowers decline, cut the plant back to stimulate new growth and more bloom. Tolerates light afternoon shade.
While the species prefers cool weather, the many hybrids withstand temperatures as high as 95°F (35°C). Growing to about 1 ft. high and wide are ‘Innocence Compact’, with yellow-centered white flowers, and ‘Innocence Compact Pink’, with pink blooms. The Poetry (12–14 in. high), Aromatica (12–14 in. high), and Sunsatia (6–12 in. high) series all come in a range of colors. Particularly heat-tolerant ‘Bluebird’ has blue-violet blossoms centered with yellow. Well-established plantings of the species and hybrids are hardy to 15°F (–9°C).
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