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On Gardening: The best supporting flower goes to…Blue My Mind and Blue My Mind XL

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

Blue My Mind and last year’s sibling Blue My Mind evolvulus are surefire winners of the 2022 Best Supporting Flower. This is for the flower that delivers an outstanding performance in a supporting role.

As I write this, I am a couple of hours away from the 2022 version of the Oscars. I don’t know what this year’s films are and have to admit I haven’t seen any of them. There is a good chance, however, the Hollywood stars don’t know my best supporting flower, either. That’s OK, it is their loss.

I suspect that Blue My Mind and the Blue My Mind XL will always get a nomination, but there will be those years that a Scaevola or a Mecardonia might slip in and grab the trophy. You might even wonder, how I could give it to both Blue My Mind and the XL version?

Well, the University of Tennessee trials said it all. Perfect Score all season for both, and they couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Other trials said the XL was indeed a little larger in flower and habit. While I won’t bet the proverbial family farm on it, I will wager that when you see the icy blue blooms in a combo, you will ooh and ahh. It will be thanks to the little blue flowered evolvulus.

Usually my articles are required to straighten up some taxonomic change of nomenclature. This time I am chasing the rabbit we call the common name. When the evolvulus came out in the mid-’90s, we were happy to let that be the common name. It kind of added an air of mystery to the plant. The big plant production market boys don’t like mystery, so they tagged "bush morning glory" to it.

While grannies and such love their morning glories, there is another segment of gardeners and farmers that this puts the fear of God into. To this group, the term "bush" simply means "I might kill this morning glory if I try hard and rent the flamethrower at the store." Obviously, I am joking, sort of.

The botanical name Evolvulus means to untwist or not climb. Blue My Mind reaches about 12 inches tall, spreading outward to around 24 inches. XL will grow outward a little larger. That’s pretty special for a plant that is in the morning glory family. Space your plants 12 to 24 inches apart. This low growing habit makes it the perfect plant for the front of the border in front of Luscious Marmalade lantanas or whatever is your favorite color. Use it in mixed containers and they will make you look like the design pro who won The Federated Garden Club mixed container award.

 

Since both Blue My Mind varieties have the ability to perform for a very long season, it pays to prepare your bed properly. I like to work in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter, along with two pounds of a slow-release fertilizer like a 15-7-15 per 100 square feet of bed space. Your bed is probably smaller; just follow your fertilizer's label instructions. You might wonder the reason for doing this for such a tough plant. The answer is drainage. The Blue My Mind varieties of evolvulus do not like to sit in wet, soggy conditions, so good drainage is an absolute.

Not too many plants are this maintenance-free. Watering during dry periods and light monthly applications of fertilizer will keep your plants blooming until frost. No deadheading is needed. This color of blue stands out like the best supporting flower award winner it is, even when paired with a Superbells Hollywood Star calibrachoa.

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(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

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