‘Blue daze’ – deep sky-blue flowers in abundance

By Ralph E. Mitchell

I first saw a hanging basket of ‘Blue Daze’ at a garden center where I worked in Rhode Island sometime in the late 1980’s.  I had never seen a plant that so aptly fit its name – ‘Blue Daze’ .  The fuzzy bluish-gray leaves seemed to almost reflect a hint of color from the sky-blue flowers.  These days, ‘Blue Daze’ is as popular as any bedding plant with many fans in the gardening world.

‘Blue Daze’ is actually part of the morning glory family – you can almost see the similarities with the color and form of the flower.  Commonly used as an evergreen groundcover which is no more than one-foot high and up to three feet wide, ‘Blue Daze’ leaves and stems are covered in fine gray hairs.  The one-inch dark sky-blue flowers sport white throats.  Individual flowers only last a day and are closed in the afternoon.  Each day there is a new crop of these sparking clear-blue blooms to look forward to.   ‘Blue Daze’ is practically a maintenance-free plant once established.  Plant ‘Blue Daze’ in a full-sun location in a wide-range of soil types as long as they are well-drained.  For a mass planting as a ground cover, install individual plants eighteen to twenty-four inches on center.  ‘Blue Daze’ is also great in large planters, in a border as edging, cascading down a wall, or of course, in a hanging basket.

This South American native is highly salt tolerant and will do great in coastal gardens.  Now, as your ‘Blue Daze’ matures, it will get a bit woody and you may want to replace it with a new specimen.  Propagation is easy as six-inch tip cuttings root rapidly.  You may also find that the points where stems touch the ground on the original plant have rooted and simply need to be cut and separated.  ‘Blue Daze’ takes the heat well, but can be a bit cold sensitive.  As such, some people treat this perennial plant as an annual, and simply get new ones.  Otherwise, cover plants if frosts threaten, or simply bring in containers and hanging baskets.  Light frosts will often do little permanent damage.

‘Blue Daze’ complements many bedding flower combinations.  The ones planted at the entrance of the Murdock Administration Building in two large containers are mixed with caladiums, milkweed, and wishbone flowers.  This ensemble of flowers  makes a great first impression and are certainly eye-catching.  ‘Blue Daze’ is a ‘bread-and-butter’ item that should be in every plant bed and landscape.   For more information on all types of bedding plants suitable for our area, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Don’t forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area.  Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times – http://charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/Plant%20Clinics%20Schedule.pdf .

Resources:
Gilman, E. F. & Meerow, A. (1999) Evolvulus glomeratus.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Christman, S. (2003) Evolvulus glomeratus . Floridata.com, Tallahassee, FL.
MacCubbin,  T. (1992) THE PLANT DOCTOR – Perennial Blue Daze Is Sensitive To The Cold.  Orlando Sentinel Articles- 11/9/92
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (2010) The University of Florida Extension Services, IFAS.

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