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Geranium Buxton’s Blue - not blue

EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 442
I have tried several times over the years to grow a geranium Wallichianum Buxton’s Blue that is actually blue, like this (photo from a seed merchant’s page):


But, whether it has been from seed, or plants, bought from more than one nursery, they look like this at best, but usually even more washed-out.



Is this just because sellers know that blue is a popular colour, and bend the truth a bit? I’m wondering because I had exactly the same issue with a campanula a while ago. Also touted as a cheery blue/lilac, but was in fact very pale lilac, almost white - very pretty but not what I wanted.  I have tried growing them in various growing media, feeding more or less, more or less sun etc etc . They are always pale lilac or very pale lilac. Does anyone grow these more successfully then me, and know the secret? I expect the truth is that the variety is variable, and no one is trying hard enough to only select plants that are true blue to propagate from. My current plan is to check out nurseries when the geraniums are in flower and pounce if I see a good one, but it it’s taking a long time. 

Carmarthenshire 
If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
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Posts

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Most 'blue' plants are actually a shade of lilac/purple.  The secret is not believing what you see in photo's on web sites!
    ;)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,432
    I've found the same thing with geranium Rozanne. They were blue at the Eden Project, a more lilac blue at OH's cottage in Norfolk and lilac at my old house in France. Maybe it has to do with acidity of soil. The soil at the French house was very alkaline.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    edited May 2021
    I grew about a dozen from seed many years back and they are somewhat variable in colour and flower size, as you'd expect from seed-grown plants.  I then took seeds from the bluest but didn't find the resulting plants any less non-blue than the originals.  I still have a lot randomly dotted around, but none in flower yet.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,060
    I have a proper blue geranium macrorrhizum. Someone identified it for me last year but I can't remember what it was called. It's about to flower soon so I'll take a photo then. The thing is, it only flowers for a month or so 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 442
    That’s interesting, although not what I wanted to hear @BobTheGardener😁. I’d have to try cuttings then, if I ever get a good one. 
    Carmarthenshire 
    If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    The amount of sun they get may have some bearing, as well as the acidity which @Busy-Lizzie mentions - I've a feeling my bluest ones may be growing in semi-shade.  Lovely plants though, and will just grow through other stuff without taking over the area like most geraniums do.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,522
    I believe Buxton's Blue is an old variety, I bought one about 15 years ago when we moved here and from memory it was a true blue. Not any more though, in fact I'm not even sure mine flowers now. Very difficult to get rid of it though, it spreads too much for my liking. The original plants have probably been over-bred by now and the colour diluted.
    The same happened to the poppy 'Patty's Plum', beautiful when it first came out, now it's just not the same magical colour it once was. 
  • EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 442
    @Lizzie27, So in fact to keep a blue variety, you would probably have to take cuttings every year or so, and ruthlessly remove any that develop the wrong shade. I don’t  think I’m dedicated enough for that. It’s also interesting that @BobTheGardener finds that they aren’t invasive (which has been my experience, another reason why I persist with them), but yours have gradually gone thuggish. It makes me think that they have gradually hybridised to a more vigorous and paler cultivar maybe?
    Carmarthenshire 
    If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    This is interesting - apparently, 'Rozanne' was bred from Buxton's Variety:
    I wonder if it would have sold so many if called by its real name, 'Gerwat'?! :D
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 442
    Not as pretty-sounding is it @BobTheGardener? That is interesting about it being a parent of Rozanne. A previous garden had so much Rozanne in it, that I went right off it, and still don’t like it much, or any of a similar colour. But I know it’s the go-to hardy geranium. 
    Carmarthenshire 
    If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
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