Photo: © Jelitto
Gentiana cruciata 'Blue cross'
The intense blue colouring of gentian flowers tempts many gardeners but failure is common with this capricious genus.
If you've failed with them before, try this one, regarded as the easiest and most forgiving of the genus.
Gentiana cruciata is native to forest edges, rocky pastures and dry meadows in Europe and western Asia.
The cultivar 'Blue Cross' has a more compact and bushy habit than the species, and reaches 20-30cm tall.
The unopened flower buds are creamy white and intensify in colour to a deep blue as they mature creating a bicolour effect.
Given good drainage this plant will adapt to most soil types in sun or light shade. Once planted leave the plant alone as they resent root disturbance.
Cruciata means "crossed" and refers to the shape of the leaves as viewed from above.
Well drained, dry
Full sun, light shade