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Italian bugloss Anchusa azurea

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
an-CUE-sah ah-ZUR-ee-ah
Description

Anchusa azurea, or Alkanet, is a flowering, bristly, short-lived, perennial. In its native Europe, it is often found on the sides of arable fields, waste places, roadsides and stony hills. The small, bright blue flowers of Alkanet are borne in loose clusters or cymes from late spring to mid-summer. 

The plant will grow best in full sun, but you should provide some afternoon shade during the hot summer months, and it tolerates heavy clay soil. It prefers moist, well-drained, soil, but established plants will tolerate drought.  Some taller plants may need to be staked for support. This plant is not drought tolerant and mulching around the plant base will aid in retaining moisture. The mulch will also provide protection for the plant after the bloom season has ended. Cut back the plants at the end of the season and assure that the roots (but not the crown) are protected by mulch. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.

This plant will self-seed and has a reputation for being weedy. Under the right conditions such as deep, rich, fertile soil, it can become invasive. Self-seeding, if not dealt with, can also lead to an invasion of new plants. Deadheading will help to eliminate this tendency as well as prolong the bloom period.   

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: 

No known disease or pest issues, however, crown rot is an issue for this plant.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Loddon Royalist'
    Purple-blue flowers
'Loddon Royalist'
Tags:
#drought tolerant#perennial#weedy#blue flowers#herbaceous perennial#wildflower garden#late spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#clay soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Loddon Royalist'
    Purple-blue flowers
'Loddon Royalist'
Tags:
#drought tolerant#perennial#weedy#blue flowers#herbaceous perennial#wildflower garden#late spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#clay soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Anchusa
    Species:
    azurea
    Family:
    Boraginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Central Europe, Caucasus to Mediterranean and Pakistan.
    Distribution:
    Western Canada and United States, North Central United States
    Wildlife Value:
    Noted for attracting wildlife.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought
    Edibility:
    The flowers can be eaten raw and make a decorative addition to the salad bowl, or used as a garnish.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds ripen from July to September
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Bright, violet, flowers bloom from June to August.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Straight, lance-shaped, leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Compaction
    Poor Soil