Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Bias for Blue! Drought-tolerant Perennial with Panache




Take a gander at 'Blue Throatwort' - Trachelium caeruleum
Native to the Mediterranean region, this clump-former is perennial in USDA Zones 7-11, growing with vigor as an annual in colder climates.
Some 3 to 4 feet tall, blue throatwort boasts large, dome-shaped umbels composed of countless miniature individual blue-violet flowers. 
They're said to be lightly scented, but I haven't noticed any fragrance. 
The botanical name, Trachelium is a reference to the neck: it was once thought to cure throat maladies.
Blue throatwort is not a fusspot! 
Rather, it's adaptable and drought tolerant, growing in my garden in both rich soil and lean, performing most vigorously in sun, although it has emerged and bloomed in a shadier spot, too. 
Staking is often necessary. I stake loosely, and the tallest stems take on an interesting curvature. 

Expect plants to die back after a couple years, but look for new, self-sown specimens that may appear close by. Deadheading results in second flush of blooms, although flower heads are smaller and not as impressive.  Old-fashioned throatwort makes a lovely dried flower if you cut the long, strong stems as they reach full bloom.  Strip away the leaves and arrange them in a tall vase, where they will dry naturally over time.  In a year-round garden border, the blooms of throatwort complement the deeply toothed, silvery foliage of honey bush (Melianthus major), and the felted gray leaves of Plectranthus argentatus.

10 comments:

  1. pretty. Sort of like a sedum, but with a more freewheeling attitude.

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  2. Wendy, you do have a way with words! It's kinda furrier/fuzzier with a form similar to sedum. And very pretty!!

    Miss Daisy, it's most definitely a star in my garden universe. Thanks!

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  3. Yeah, an interesting Mediterranean alternative to that sedum everyone and their mother grows this time of year.

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  4. Chuck, Yes, far more interesting than the standard sedum! Annie's Annuals sometimes offers very cool cultivars, too. From what I've seen, I think it would fit beautifully in your garden.

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  5. Perfect timing, I'm desperate for some new low water plants that stay interesting for an extended period. The photo is so cool looking; like it's in an aquarium or something. Is it just in front of a blue pot?

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  6. I like! Andrew loves his Sedum in the backgarden, I think it is very nice but in the evening light the violet/blue mmust look amazing on the Throatwort, wonder if you can get it here? We are planning on moving house (fingers crossed) and I think it could be a contender for a new garden.

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  7. Love it against the blue wall-- really sets it off.

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  8. This is new to me and lovely! Any idea if it is deer-resistant?

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  9. Hey Susan, the blue is my garden's accent color: shown here, the low wall outside the french doors leading into the garden. I love playing flowers and foliage off it's backdrop!

    Carrie, Have been thinking about you lately! Exciting news, the move. I wish you well. If you can't find plants, I should think one of the better seed suppliers would offer throatwort. Let me know if you have success.

    Janet, Thanks! The blue wall adds its bit of impact to the plantings. The area is going through a major re-do at the moment - Very exciting to be planning a new design. You know how that is :~)

    DP, Sadly, I wouldn't think it would be deer-resistant. It would look pretty tasty to me if I were a deer.......

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