The browallia, or sapphire flower, is an annual flower that blooms heavily from early spring to fall frost and year-round as sunny window flowers or in greenhouses. It's best in cool or coastal gardens, but with partial shade or an eastern exposure, it will consistently grow well elsewhere.
Description: B. speciosa varieties grow in a loose mound up to 18 inches high and as wide, their lax habit allowing them to trail. The popular variety of B. viscosa Sapphire is a compact, rather stiff plant that doesn't trail.
How to grow: Plant in rich, well-drained soil but keep moist. Plant large varieties ten inches apart and dwarf ones six inches apart. Browallia is a good shade plant, though with a looser habit and sparser flowers.
Propagation: Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks prior to planting out after the last frost. At temperatures of 70 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, they'll take 14 to 21 days to germinate.
Uses: The sapphire-blue flowers are grown in beds, borders, or rock gardens. Compact plants make good edges for a tall border and are excellent container plants.
Related varieties: Sky Blue has great color and thrives in pots. Jingle Bells is a mix of white and blue shades.
Scientific name: Browallia speciosa, B. viscosa
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