These shade-loving perennials form lush rosettes of finely divided, ferny, typically light to medium green foliage; clusters of bell-shaped flowers appear in spring or early summer. Good under trees. Lovely in combination with bellflower (Campanula), bleeding heart (Laprocapnos), ferns, hellebore, hosta, lilies. Grow from seed or from divisions made after bloom or in spring; give well-drained soil. The following species and hybrids are among those most commonly available in nurseries.
- Native to Europe and Asia.
- Fairly upright-growing plant to 13 feet high, 11 feet wide.
- Lavender-blue, pendulous, inch-wide flowers.
- Brise dAnjou', with each leaflet neatly outlined in white, is one of the most striking variegated-foliage plants.
creeping jacob's ladder
- Native from New Hampshire to Georgia, west to Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Alabama.
- Weak-stemmed plant to 11 feet high, 1 feet wide; light blue, inches flowers.
- Better known than the species is heavy-blooming 'Blue Pearl'; it grows 10 inches high, 1 feet wide and bears bright blue blossoms.
- Firmament grows to 20 inches high, 1 feet wide, with bright blue flowers.
- Stairway To Heaven has leaves edged in white and light blue flowers.
- Touch of Class is similar but is a little more vigorous.
- Good in shaded borders and rock gardens.