(Catananche caerulea)

Cupid’s Dart comes to Colorado from Europe, where its historical role as an ingredient in love potions gave rise to its common name. Clumps of slender gray-green leaves grow about a foot tall and wide. Wiry stalks extend past the foliage, supporting a myriad of striking periwinkle-blue flower heads, each set off by papery bracts behind the petals. If left to mature, the two inch blooms turn into attractive seed heads that last all winter.

Thriving on benign neglect, Cupid’s Dart requires full sun and excellent drainage. Provide supplemental water during prolonged dry spells. Although this is a short-lived perennial lasting about three years, it is easy to propagate. Plants may be divided in early spring, or started from seed. Seedlings started indoors in March will bloom their first summer. Place seeds in the freezer for several weeks prior to sowing. Removing faded flowers will prolong bloom.

Landscape Use
Its xeric qualities make Cupid’s Dart an ideal plant for low-water gardens. The lavender-blue flowers combine especially well with orange-yellow butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberose) or torch-lily (Kniphofia).  Use it as a temporary filler among slower-growing shrubs, where its short lifespan is an asset. The flowers can be used in dried arrangements.

Article and photos by Leslie Holzmann, Certified Colorado Gardener.


The petite, sky-blue flowers of forget-me-nots have charmed gardeners for ages. Also available in delicate pink or white, the blossoms are suspended by wiry stems above crinkled, heart-shaped leaves of forest green. The plants form a groundcover six to twelve inches high and two feet wide. Even though the species is native to Europe, it has naturalized in North America to the extent that the forget-me-not is the state flower of Alaska.


While the plants are hardy from USDA zones 4 to 8, they may be perennial, biennial, or even annuals. In any case, forget-me-nots reseed abundantly and will renew themselves indefinitely provided their needs are met. Naturally growing along streams or at the edge of ponds, this woodland species prefers cool, damp conditions. Soil should be rich in humus, so dig in plenty of organic matter before planting. Plants do best in the shade, especially as the weather warms; intense high-altitude sunlight will burn leaves.

Landscape Use

Forget-me-nots bloom at about the same time as mid-season tulips, and make a beautiful underplanting that will hide the bulbs’ fading foliage. Naturalize them in woodland gardens, under trees, and in any informal garden that receives regular watering.

Article and photo by Leslie Holzmann, Certified Colorado Gardener.