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Does That Come in Blue???

January 18, 2010


Recently a customer requested the color blue as the central component for an upcoming, rather large event. Immediately I began a train of thought that is very familiar to me as a floral designer. It goes something like this; “what flowers that are blue are available to me right now….” Usually the list I come up with is quite short, unless the request is made in the middle of spring, in which case the list is a little longer. But in general, blue is the rarest color of flower. So in order to help our customers (and ourselves), I’ve decided to provide some valuable information regarding  this subject.

First I will go through some of the most common blue flowers, share information about availability, and provide some pictures.

1. Hydrangea

Blue hydrangea closeup-1

This beautiful and versatile flower is one of my favorites to work with. It is perfect for weddings because of it’s volume and elegance.  When I look at hydrangea blooms, I see big, delicate puffs of petals that can be put together to create a dreamy cloud of flowers.  The blue shade can also be found with blue and white petals on the same bloom. It also mixes beautifully with the other hydrangea colors such as green and white.  Blue Hydrangea is available locally in Vancouver from about March to October, with the best blooms found in June. While it can be imported all year, the quality varies. Blue Hydrangea is grown in, and imported from, Columbia.

2. Blue Thistle (eryngium)


Also known as “Sea Holly” due to the fact that one type is often found on sea shores, even though the majority of species are grassland plants. A native of Europe,  I love the thistle!  While it can sometimes appear almost silver, it always pops blue when arranged with other colors. Some people may not think of thistle as a flower in the traditional sense, possibly because of it’s small bloom size or it’s overall spiky look. But when you see it you realize each stem has many, many blooms and can be quite tall, making this blue flower work in arrangements both large and small. Thistle is imported from Peru all year, and is not an expensive item.

3. Iris


The Iris is a springtime flower grown in local greenhouses.  A perennial herb, Iris’ grow from either bulbs or rhizomes. It is available from about January to November. The Iris is commonly imported as the blooms are bigger and the color more vibrant when grown elsewhere. Unfortunately though, the imported variety is more expensive and can cost up to 3 times as much as it’s local Vancouver counterpart. With it’s bright yellow center, the Iris is a bright and cheery flower that works well with other “gardeny” flowers.

4. Delphinium


Delphinium is a perennial flowering plant that comes in a variety of blue, violet, and purple shades.  The truest and bluest among them being the ‘electric blue’ shade.  Tall and stalky, delphinium can certainly make a statement with its bright and delicate blooms. Another ‘gardeny’ flower, delphinium is available locally in Vancouver from March to August. It can also be imported all year from both Ecuador and Peru.

5. Brodiaea


Brodiaea is an elegant perennial that flowers from about May to June. Very similar in look and shape to agapanthus, each stem consists of about 10 delicate blooms. This flower works well in bouquets or as an accent in arrangements.

6. Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)


Native to Eurasia, this deciduous plant produces a small flower with mini blooms that grow in a spike shape resembling a dense bunch of  grapes.

7. Scabiosa


The beautiful, delicate petals of this flower make it an irresistible choice. Scabiosa (not the most beautiful name for such a gorgeous flower) comes in a variety of shades ranging from blue to violet. This flower is commonly found in a light blue, or sky blue, color.

8. Here is a list of some other blue flowers not represented above;

  • Agapanthus
  • Anenome
  • Bluebell
  • Chinese Aster
  • Veronica
  • Water Lily

Now that we’ve gone over the main blue flowers available to us here in Vancouver, let’s talk for a moment about a subject that is sometimes considered rather taboo in the floral design industry; dyed flowers! Everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to flowers. Personally, I prefer to use flowers in their natural state. Some people love the color blue so much that a flower that is dyed blue is perfectly acceptable. I have no problem providing dyed flowers to our customers, if they are requested. Flowers that are most commonly dyed blue are roses, chrysanthemums, and dendrobium orchids. I would like our customers to be aware of some facts about dyed flowers. Food coloring is most commonly used to dye flowers. The blue dye can seep into the vase water from the flower, creating blue water. The dye can also be transferred to hands and clothes. Especially worrisome to me is dyed flowers used in weddings because of the risk of a blue disaster should the dye get on the wedding dress. You should be aware that dyed flowers do not last as long as their natural counterparts, and their leaves commonly fall off much sooner.

Example of dyed blue dendrobium orchid;


Things that are dyed blue do not look very natural, in my humble opinion.


As an afterthought; I was pondering why it is that the color blue is so rare in flowers and plants. What is it that makes pink, red, yellow and orange so much more widely available? I decided that the color green is actually the most common color found on Earth. Almost all plants, trees and flowers include green, or are all green. The rain forests are green. Grass is green! Why isn’t anything blue?? Then it hit me; the sky is blue, the oceans are blue, the lakes and rivers are blue. In the end, blue may actually be the most common naturally occurring color in the world!

Jamie Wall,

Designer, Garden Party Flowers.

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