Our star plant of the week, Anchusa capensis, belongs to a large family of shrubs, trees, and herbs known as Boraginaceae. Native to South Africa, this plant has become widespread across the world in gardens and along roadsides due to its strong growth habit and display of uniquely bright blue blooms. According to The New Sunset Western Garden Book, A. capensis performs as a biennial in Climate Zones 6-24. When grown in all other climate zones, blooms typically appear in late spring through summer on a yearly basis.
Taking an up-close look at this plant, your eye will be drawn immediately to its stunning flowers. Individual blooms grow about ½’’ across and appear in 2’’ long clusters. Their deep blue petals are contrasted by bright white centers. True to the Boraginaceae family, the sandpaper-textured green leaves are narrow and pointed. With a sturdy, upright stem, the plant typically reaches 1.5’ in height and 8’’ in width at maturity.
A. capensis performs best in dry, sandy soil, with full sun and moderate to regular watering. For a cooler garden color scheme, it is a beautiful complement to other flowering plants that display hues of blue and purple. If you’re going for a brighter, more summery design, A. capensis goes well with yellows and oranges. The featured photo shows a pairing of our Anchusa and Calendula (both yellow and orange varieties). It is advised that the first blooms be cut back once spent (usually 4-6 weeks after initial flowering) to encourage a second round of color later in the season. Bees and other pollinators are greatly attracted to the blooms. As a final exciting note, it turns out we can enjoy these gorgeous flowers not only with our eyes but our tastebuds! In the culinary world, the flowers are popular choices for salads, soups, drinks, pasta dishes, desserts, and more.
We are currently growing the ‘Blue Angel’ series of Anchusa capensis here at Clearwater Color in 4.5’’ round pots. Our plants are coming into bloom, dazzling with clusters of vibrant blue flowers. To learn more about this plant and the many others we grow, give us a call, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or check out our website at clearwatercolor.com!